Global Justice, Labor Standards and Responsibility

Theoretical Inquiries in Law 12 (2):439-464 (2011)

Abstract

In this Article we propose an analytical framework for allocating responsibility for the protection of worker’s rights in the global labor market. Since production and services have expanded globally, and the state’s ability to protect worker’s rights on the national level has been undermined, the main challenge today is to find the appropriate institutional arrangements that allocate responsibility in a manner that realizes basic labor standards. The Article argues that in the context of a global labor market, responsibility should be perceived in terms of "shared responsibility," whereby responsibility is shared by a complex network of agents and institutions that take part in global production and services. Within these global social networks and connections, labor relations generate a unique type of social connection which implies a special type of commitment and obligation towards workers. We propose four principles to guide the allocation of responsibility for remedying the unjust conditions of workers in the world, based on measures of connectedness, capacity, benefit, and contribution.

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