But for those hoping that some international body will hold Walmart, the other retailers or even the factory owner responsible, don’t hold your breath. While multilateral free trade agreements have done an effective job of providing U.S. consumers with cheap imported products, they’ve been woefully short on ensuring that the suppliers of such goods treat their workers fairly.
This raises a larger point about who has the power to force such companies out of the market. Walmart isn’t the only one guilty of a “see-no-evil, hear-no-evil” attitude regarding overseas laborers; we, the consumers, are all too often guilty of putting low prices before everything else.
Keep this in mind while shopping this holiday season. Voting with one’s wallet might be the only way to guarantee that unscrupulous global retailers are held accountable.