Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

New Yorker, New York Times Feature Work of Richard Locke

May 17, 2013

Incoming Director Richard M. Locke is quoted in an opinion piece titled "Before You Buy That T-Shirt" in the May 19 issue of the New York Times.

"Quite honestly," he said, "the most effective things that consumers can do is really educate themselves about how the things we buy every day are made and ask ourselves do we need 20 T-shirts."

Also, in this week's New Yorker, James Surowiecki examines how multi-faceted consumer pressure has created the types of supply chains that lead to tragedies like the factory collapse in Bangladesh last month. Surowiecki's argument is based on research published by Locke in his new book, The Promise and Limits of Private Power

"Often," Locke tells Surowiecki, "the only way factories can make the variety and quantity of goods that brands want at the price points they're willing to pay is to squeeze the workers." Locke concludes that although private companies have a long way to go in improving working conditions, real change will only happen when governments draft and enforce stricter labor regulations.