The Struggle Against Sweatshops: Moving Toward Responsible Global Business

Journal of Business Ethics 66 (2-3):261-272 (2006)
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Today's sweatshops violate our notions of justice, yet they continue to flourish. This is so because we have not settled on criteria that would allow us to condemn and do away with them and because the poor working conditions in certain places are preferable to the alternative of no job at all. In this paper, we examine these phenomena. We consider the definitional dilemmas posed by sweatshops by routing a standard definition of sweatshops through the precepts put forward in the literature on justice and virtue ethics. We conclude that fixing on definitions is pointless and misleading and that we are better off looking at whether or not a workplace violates the basic human rights of workers and whether or not the working conditions there cohere with situations on which we have already rendered judgments. In the end, we suggest guidelines for businesses that operate in the global workplace to help them avoid charges of running sweatshops. These recommendations account for the harsh living conditions in certain developing and emerging countries as well as the norms of societies in developed countries



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References found in this work

The Politics of Stakeholder Theory.R. Edward Freeman - 1994 - Business Ethics Quarterly 4 (4):409-421.
The Development of Moral Imagination.Mark A. Seabright - 2000 - Business Ethics Quarterly 10 (4):845-884.

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