Global Labor Justice and the Limits of Economic Analysis in advance

Business Ethics Quarterly 24 (1):55-83 (2014)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT:This article considers the economic case for so-called sweatshop wages and working conditions. My goal is not to defend or reject the economic case for sweatshops. Instead, proceeding from a broadly pluralist understanding of value, I make and defend a number of claims concerning the ethical relevance of economic analysis for values that different agents utilize to evaluate sweatshops. My arguments give special attention to a series of recent articles by Benjamin Powell and Matt Zwolinski, which represent the latest and best defense of the economic case for sweatshops. In the process, I challenge Zwolinski’s “non-worseness claim”, and the idea that opposition to sweatshop wages and working conditions fails to respect that the autonomy of would-be sweatshop workers. Ultimately, I conclude that even if the economic case for sweatshops rests on a solid empirical foundation, agents possess good reason to advocate for better wages and working conditions for sweatshop workers, and to prefer less exploitative or coercive relationships. Sweatshop labor undermines a compelling vision of free markets, according to both Kantian and republican conceptions of freedom, and the relationships formed by those who participate in such markets.

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References found in this work

The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
Responsibility and global justice: A social connection model.Iris Marion Young - 2006 - Social Philosophy and Policy 23 (1):102-130.
Exploitation.Alan Wertheimer - 1996 - Princeton University Press.
Well-being, agency and freedom: The Dewey lectures 1984.Amartya Sen - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (4):169-221.
Rationality and Freedom.Amartya Sen - 2005 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 67 (1):182-183.

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