Nike's Good Start

Nike and other US companies that rely on low-paid overseas labor to produce high-priced consumer goods for Americans still have a way to go to remove the stain of exploitation from their trademarks. But the world's best-known shoemaker is off to an admirable start.

Nike has announced it intends to improve air quality in its Asian factories, provide educational opportunities for workers, raise the minimum age for hiring new workers - and, not least, allow independent monitoring of workplace conditions.

CEO Philip Knight said the changes "reflect who we are as a company." He's trying to give Nike's civic image a bit of the "swoosh" associated with its products. But that should mean hiking salaries, too. In Indonesia, for example, Nike workers still lack the $3-a-day income critics say is needed for a decent standard of living there.

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