This article applies the Kantian doctrine of respect for persons to the problem of sweatshops. We argue that multinational enterprises are properly regarded as responsible for the practices of their subcontractors and suppliers. We then argue that multinationalenterprises have the following duties in their off-shore manufacturing facilities: to ensure that local labor laws are followed; to refrain from coercion; to meet minimum safety standards; and to provide a living wage for employees. Finally, we consider and reply to the objection that (...) improving health and safety conditions and providing a living wage will cause greater harm than good. (shrink)
In “Sweatshops and Respect for Persons” we argued on Kantian grounds that managers of multinational enterprises (MNEs) have the following duties: to adhere to local labor laws, to refrain from coercion, to meet minimum health and safety standards, and to pay workers a living wage. In their commentary on our paper Sollars and Englander challenge some of our conclusions. We argue here that several of their criticisms are based on an inaccurate reading of our paper, and that none of the (...) remaining criticisms successfully challenge our main arguments. By highlighting the shortcomings of their arguments we hope to advance discussion of the ethical treatment of workers in global supply chains. (shrink)
Abstract:The literature contains many recommendations, both explicit and implicit, that suggest how an ethics program ought to be designed. While we recognize the contributions of these works, we also note that these recommendations are typically based on either social scientific theory or data and as a result they tend to discount the moral aspects of ethics programs. To contrast and complement these approaches, we refer to a theory of the right to identify the characteristics of an effective ethics program. We (...) draw from Kant’s ethical theory to identify three guiding principles of a moral ethics program and then apply those principles to the specific components of ethics programs as discussed in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Doing so provides insights as to how an ethics program ought to be designed from a moral point of view and sparks discussion of the moral aspects of ethics programs. (shrink)
Most shoppers like bargains. Do bargains come at the expense of workers in sweatshops around the world? The authors argue that many large multinational corporations are running the moral equivalents of sweatshops and are not properly respecting the rights of persons. They list a set of minimum standards of safety and decency that they claim all corporations should meet (and that many are not). Finally, they defend their call for improved working conditions by replying to objections that meeting improved conditions (...) will cause greater harm than good, even to the workers themselves. They consider many specifi c corporations and name names and point the finger at various forms of disrespect for persons, along the way. (shrink)
The effect of capitalism on the quality of life has been much debated. Albert O. Hirschman has classified the views of the impact of capitalism on the quality of life as civilizing, destructive, and feeble. I believe that multinational corporations should be and could be a civilizing force in today’s cosmopolitan but turbulent world. A number of initiatives will be discussed with special emphasis on business contributions to human rights and to the achievement of past and present United Nations initiatives. (...) As MNCs undertake these initiatives, they will do well by doing good. (shrink)
One of the most influential appeals in disputes concerning distributive justice is the appeal to the value of equality. However, the concept of equality is one of the vaguest concepts in social philosophy and philosophical discussions of equality are notorious for their ambiguity. The purpose of this paper is to formulate concisely and then to evaluate the adequacy of four egalitarian formulas and a four-step egalitarian position for achieving distributive justice.
Employment and Employee Rights addresses the issue of rights in the workplace. Although much of the literature in this field focuses on employee rights, this volume considers the issue from the perspective of both employees and employers. Considers the rights of both employees and employers. Discusses the moral and legal landscape and traditional assumptions about right in employment. Investigates arguments for guaranteeing rights, particularly for employees, which are derived from relational, developmental, and economic bases. Explores new dimensions of employment including (...) a model that incorporates growing workplace diversity, builds upon our understanding of the legal landscape, and expands upon our justifications for recognizing and protecting rights. (shrink)
The war between natural law philosophy and legal positivism is an ancient one. For a time the stunning victories of Bentham and Austin virtually drove the forces of natural law from the battlefield. However, upon the collapse of Germany and Japan at the end of the Second World War, natural law became a useful tool in attempting to resolve the practical difficulties of trying war criminals. This fact and the rise of two able antagonistic generals, H. L. A. Hart and (...) Lon Fuller, have sparked a new series of battles. (shrink)