A recent article in The Guardian by Lucy Siegle presents some uncomfortable facts about the conditions of production or of many middle-class home comforts. She reports on the human or environmental impacts involved in the production of nine items, from toy packaging to jeans to laptops.
The article presents an informative look into the complex global supply chains that are generally hidden from view when we purchase our products at the Big Box store or on the internet. When reading the article, I was struck by how the reality of global supply chains is often so far from the beneficent free markets found in economics textbooks. The article largely speaks for itself, but let me highlight two disconnections I found particularly egregious with regard to the so-called free market supply chains for mobile phones and coffee.