Sunday, January 29, 2012

Repugnance creates arbitrage opportunities

I was recently party to an email conversation with Judd Kessler and Luke Coffman, about the   NY Times articles about working conditions at Chinese plants that manufacture Apple (and other) products: In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad.

Judd pointed to the line
“If Apple was warned, and didn’t act, that’s reprehensible,” said Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, a group that advises the United States Labor Department. “But what’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that.”

To which Luke responded
"...differences in repugnance create arbitrage opportunities. This is very obvious in things like organ sales (people fly to Asia to get a kidney), but I hadn't thought about it in business before... It's a compelling thought."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Accepted business practice" seems like a leap no? Accepted by whom? Maybe, enforceable business practice is a better term? You can create "arbitrage" opportunities with monopolistic/oligopolistic power...