Really interesting debate around the social business model that TOMS shoes has taken up in this article. I think it’s important to discuss this and take a look at the implications of these models in the market and ask if they really make a significant difference. A marxist critique mentioned in the article which I’ve also managed to watch by Zizek harshly criticizes this model and its implications for development in impoverished countries.
My problem has always been that they give these shoes to people but they are made poorly in China. I mean the quality isn’t half bad but the issues surrounding human rights and labour rights in China are just as bad as the countries that they are giving the shoes to. I don’t know if it really solves any issues besides promoting the triple business model that seeks to satisfy everyones needs, Profit & people. I don’t think it can really work this way, the sweatshops will continue to function and the shoes will be continually produced for a high profit by Chinese labourers who are not compensated properly. I much prefer something such as the Adbuster shoe which looks more closely at the equality around the labour process than the actual charitable giving as the social component of their business.