Kylie Jenner’s clothing line is stiffing garment workers in Bangladesh, who have long lacked the bargaining power to improve their conditions. But the industry is changing — and consumer action linked to workplace militancy could actually win gains for these workers.
Ashok Kumar is a lecturer in international political economy at Birkbeck, University of London and the author of Monopsony Capitalism: Power and Production in the Twilight of the Sweatshop Age. He tweets @broseph_stalin.
Brands like Gap and H&M have long been able to shop around for outsourced suppliers, driving sweatshop conditions in newly industrializing countries. But their rising dependence on large, centralized suppliers is undermining the bases of the sweatshop model — and increasing workers’ power to fight for improvements.