Chapter

The Role Global Labor Standards Could Play in Addressing Basic Needs

KIMBERLY ANN ELLIOTT and RICHARD B. FREEMAN

in Global Inequalities at Work

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780195150865
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865222 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150865.003.012
 The Role Global Labor Standards Could Play in Addressing Basic Needs

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The current discourse on globalization has tended to treat free trade and better working conditions as fundamentally at odds. This chapter argues that free trade and labor standards are complementary, rather than competitive ways to raise living conditions in less developed countries. The first section describes the labor standards at the heart of the debate, the rationale for global rather than local standards, and the conditions under which standards improve or worsen economic well-being in less developed countries. The second section provides evidence on the economic effects of standards and trade and their interconnection. The third section highlights the problem of delivering standards in less developed countries and argues for an increased role for global institutions, as well as efforts to improve standards in export processing zones, to demonstrate the positive effects of globalization on the well-being of workers.

Keywords: globalization; free trade; working conditions; labor standards; less developed countries

Chapter.  13136 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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