Exploring the Ethics and Economics of Global Labor Standards

Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (2):193-220 (2003)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The challenge that confronts corporate decision-makers in connection with global labor conditions is often in identifying the standardsby which they should govern themselves. In an effort to provide greater direction in the face of possible global cultural conflicts, ethicistsThomas Donaldson and Thomas Dunfee draw on social contract theory to develop a method for identifying basic human rights: Integrated Social Contract Theory (ISCT). In this paper, we apply ISCT to the challenge of global labor standards, attempting to identify labor rights that could serve as guides for corporations producing or outsourcing outside of their home country. In addition to identifying areas of universal agreement, we also examine whether ISCT is, in fact, a sufficient basis for determining worker rights; we seek to define the parameters of the “sweatshop” problem; we include the application and results of our ISCT analysis as applied to labor standards: the global labor rights hypernorms; and conclude that ISCT is sufficient only for rights that are universal. We also discuss whether market-driven decisions can identify the boundaries of labor rights, or at least assure that market outcomes are compatible with maintaining labor rights, in order to respond to the shortcomings of ISCT. We conclude with some comments on directions of analysis for labor rights determination.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,349

External links

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

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

52 (#299,806)

6 months
5 (#629,136)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?