The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Should companies be forced to watch their supply chain?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 485 times Debate No: 98678
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Quick overview of the topic, Pro, me, will be attempting to argue that companies are obligated to keep an eye on their supply chain, and root out any corruption or immoral practices within this chain, like a 10 year old working on a Xbox. They are also obligated to give this information about their supply chain to the public. Finally, this is localized to America companies and supply chains. After that, lets start.

Currently, while their are many companies who do the correct thing and actually send out information about their supply chain, there are still those who ignore the popular community and keep as much as they can secret from those who they supply.

Even more companies are exposed in these scandalous events and then go public saying they will change their ways, and simply go back to the way they were, once the public eye has moved on. there is only one way for Americans to make sure that the products that are being made are from credible sources, and that is for the public to have constant access to this information


Should companies be forced to watch their supply chain? Imagine for a moment an extreme example. Suppose I run my own small clothing business. I import fabrics from India and then make custom clothing for customers. What possible steps could I take to, "watch my supply chain"? I can ask my fabric suppliers if their factories meet safety standards, if their workers are treated well, and if they are complying with all local laws. But if my suppliers are breaking laws and abusing workers they certainly aren't going to tell me about it! I could hire somebody I trust not to take a bribe to go and verify these things for me, but I am a small business that can't afford to employ a fulltime supply chain morality officer. A mandate from the government to employ such a person would force me out of business; hurting me, my customers, and my honest fabric suppliers in India.

The point of my example above is not to create a strawman. I am reasonably certain that requiring all businesses to employ full time morality officers is not what my opponent is proposing. Similarly, I completely agree that Nike should ensure that its factories do not use literal slave labor, and that General Mills has a responsibility to verify that the wheat in its cereal isn't horse manure. My point is that our debate will completely be a question of degrees. We will be arguing about how much and what kinds of verification a business needs to do to ethically watch their supply chain, whether or not the Government should force businesses to do those forms of verification, and if so, how the Government should force businesses to do it.

I will let my opponent use round two to give more details about the kinds of verification companies should do, and how the government should force them to do it. I won't do my opponent a disservice by guessing at what those proposals might be. I'll use round two to reply to my opponent"s specific plan, but to not gain an unfair advantage I'll briefly explain some reasons for being skeptical of plans to force companies to watch their supply chain.

Laws currently require companies to do a good amount of supply chain management, and American companies go to great lengths above and beyond those requirements to ethically manage their supply chains. For example Gap Inc. has very strict policies to protect workers in developing countries (1). Independent organizations have recognized and praised both the good work they currently do, and their methods for continuing improvement (2). Government attempts to force companies to do more will be costly and may only lead to very small improvements in working conditions. In developing countries, these costs may be passed on by reducing the number of job opportunities for workers, decreasing wages, and increasing the price of goods. Americans probably do fine. The relative price increase for Americans is small, and there are lots of social insurance programs for low income or unemployed people. In the developing world, the relative price increase is large, and there are very few social programs for the people who lose their jobs.

Companies are voluntarily choosing to ethically manage their supply chains, since the market punishes companies that don't. Current regulations are sufficient. New regulations are unlikely to help and may make conditions worse for workers in the developing world.

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