- Fair Trade and Globalization
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- by Hiscox, Michael
- In recent years, concerns about the impact of trade and investment on human rights and labor
standards in developing nations have played an increasingly important role in political debates
about globalization in Europe and the United States. In particular, labor unions, human rights
groups, and other NGOs have raised alarms about "sweatshops" in developing nations that
produce items for export (typically sewn or woven textile products) and are characterized by low
wages, long working hours, unsafe and unsanitary conditions, child labor, and prohibitions
against organization among workers. Many people fear that globalization has contributed to the
spread of sweatshop production in developing countries as they compete to establish new export
sectors and attract investment from footloose multinational firms (see Rodrik 1996; Klein 2000).
The most adamant critics of globalization argue that this is part of a general "race to the bottom"
in social and environmental standards in developing countries. These types of concerns have
contributed to what appears to be a significant and growing political backlash against
globalization in many western nations, mobilizing local activist groups and transnational NGOs
and stirring uneasiness among voters about future trade agreements.
- Publication Type: WCFIA Working Paper
- Published Date: February 23, 2007
- Field of Interest: Global Issues
- Hiscox, Michael. "Fair Trade and Globalization." Working Paper 2008-0057, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, February 23, 2007.