Needs exploitation

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (4):389-405 (2008)
Abstract
Sweatshop labor is often cited as an example of the worst and most pervasive form of exploitation today, yet understanding what is meant by the charge has proven surprisingly difficult for philosophers. I develop an account of what I call “Needs Exploitation,” grounded in a specification of the duty of beneficence. In the case of sweatshop labor, I argue that employers face a duty to extend to employees a wage sufficient to meet their basic needs. This duty is limited by the degree of the employees’ dependence on the employer for basic needs and a reasonability standard where the employer may remain within a range of well-being between deficiency and luxury.
Keywords Exploitation  Sweatshop labor
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