Sweatshops, Structural Injustice, and the Wrong of Exploitation: Why Multinational Corporations Have Positive Duties to the Global Poor

Journal of Business Ethics 169 (1):43-56 (2021)

Abstract

It is widely thought that firms that employ workers in “sweatshop” conditions wrongfully exploit those workers. This claim has been challenged by those who argue that because companies are not obligated to hire their workers in the first place, employing them cannot be wrong so long as they voluntarily accept their jobs and genuinely benefit from them. In this article, I argue that we can maintain that at least many sweatshop employees are wrongfully exploited, while accepting the plausible claim at the core of many defenses of sweatshops, namely that engaging in a voluntary and mutually beneficial transaction with a person in need cannot constitute morally worse treatment of that person than doing nothing at all to benefit her. We can do this, I claim, by accepting that wealthy multinational corporations have positive duties to employ or otherwise benefit the global poor. I argue that these duties can be plausibly grounded in the fact that potential sweatshop workers are victims of global structural injustice, from which multinational corporations typically benefit.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,743

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2019-10-15

Downloads
146 (#82,577)

6 months
24 (#37,439)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

The Value of Fairness and the Wrong of Wage Exploitation.Brian Berkey - 2020 - Business Ethics Quarterly 30 (3):414-429.
Exploitation and Effective Altruism.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (4):409-423.
Wage Exploitation as Disequilibrium Price.Stanislas Richard - 2021 - Business Ethics Quarterly 1:1-25.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Sweatshops, Choice, and Exploitation.Matt Zwolinski - 2007 - Business Ethics Quarterly 17 (4):689-727.
The Ethics of Sweatshops and the Limits of Choice.Michael Kates - 2015 - Business Ethics Quarterly 25 (2):191-212.
Sweatshop Regulation and Workers’ Choices.Jessica Flanigan - 2018 - Journal of Business Ethics 153 (1):79-94.
Sweatshops and Respect for Persons.Denis G. Arnold & Norman E. Bowie - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30 (9999):165-188.
Sweatshops and Respect for Persons.Denis G. Arnold & Norman E. Bowie - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30 (Supplement):165-188.
Exploitation and Sweatshop Labor: Perspectives and Issues.Jeremy Snyder - 2010 - Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (2):187-213.
What We Owe to the Global Poor.Mathias Risse - 2005 - The Journal of Ethics 9 (1-2):81-117.
Duties to the Global Poor and Minimalism About Global Justice in Advance.Alex Rajczi - forthcoming - International Journal of Applied Philosophy.
Duties to the Global Poor and Minimalism About Global Justice.Alex Rajczi - 2016 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (1):65-89.