Join the Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity as we host Baruch's own Professor S. Prakash Sethi who will present his
recent research on Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and other multinational
companies; and discuss if they engage in unethical, and perhaps, illegal
Baruch's William and Anita Newman Library offers a subject guide to compliment Professor Sethi's talk on Wal-Mart. Click here
open to the public
The issue of low-wage workers and unsafe working conditions in
developing economies has been a persistent public concern for more than
20 years. Pope Francis recently commented that these low-wage workers
are akin to “slave labour” and are a stain on both capitalism and
civilized societies. The most recent examples of hazardous work
environments include the loss of over 1000 lives in Bangladesh, and
unacceptably harsh working conditions in Chinese factories that
manufacture Apple products.
Both Wal-Mart and Apple represent two highly diverse situations but
maintain similarly abusive conditions for their workers. While Apple
sells a very high margin and profitable product, Wal-Mart prides itself
for selling at the lowest prices possible. And yet, regardless of
affordability, both companies use their market power to pay the lowest
possible wages without regard to fairness or affordability.
We use the case of Wal-Mart as a prism through which to examine the
management of global supply chains by large multinational corporations,
where the most vulnerable component - the worker - is subjected to
maximum pressure because of its lack of bargaining power. Our paper
offers a unique analysis of the situation with regard to worker
exploitation and global supply chain. We argue that exploitation of low
wage workers is no longer a question of ethics or morality. Instead,
the practice has been so embedded in the current business model that it
would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remedy the situation
without fundamental changes in how the global supply chain is managed.
Finally, we examine the futility of the so-called factory monitoring
programs and offer novel approaches to how this situation can be
improved in a manner that would provide workers with safe working
conditions and fair wages without overly excessive regulation and
In the end, we assert that it is becoming increasingly obvious that
the status quo is unsustainable, and without thoughtful and meaningful
changes, it will cause violent disruptions in business activity and
unnecessary injuries and loss of human life.
About the Speaker
Prakash Sethi is the University Distinguished Professor of Management
at the Zicklin School of Business and a Senior Fellow of the Weissman
Center for International Business. He is also president of the
International Center for Corporate Accountability and Forrest Mars, Sr.
Visiting Professor of ethics, politics, and economics at Yale
Professor Sethi spent over 12 years working and studying the operations of the
Sullivan Principles in South Africa and their impact on U.S.
corporations who were breaking down the apartheid barriers in South
Africa. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and other publications. His books include Group Purchasing Organizations: An Undisclosed Scandal in the U.S. Healthcare Industry and Setting Global Standards: Guidelines for Creating Codes of Conduct in Multinational Corporation. Professor Sethi also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Council's journal, Ethics & International Affairs.
12:00 pm - Registration and lunch
12:45 pm - Presentation
Complimentary pre-registration is required to attend this program. Register online, by phone or e-mail:
- Complete the online registration form
- Call us at 646-312-3231 or
- E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Baruch College - Newman Vertical Campus
55 Lexington Ave
Room: Room 14-220