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Labor Rights, Associate Duties, and Transnational Production Chains

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[Excerpt] In this article we propose to contribute to the philosophical debate on global justice by viewing labor relations as a type of association which implies moral commitments among its participants. We argue that such a view of associative duties justifies a cosmopolitan approach to labor standards, calling for the regulation and enforcement of labor rights beyond the limited borders of the nation-state. Since the 1980s, the debate on global justice has by and large focused on the question of whether the principles of justice should be extended beyond the political boundaries of a sovereign nation-state.[1] Current theories of global justice rely heavily upon abstract normative arguments in support of either cosmopolitan or anti-cosmopolitan approaches and tend to avoid concrete analysis of practical problems stemming from increasing global economic, political, environmental, or legal developments. [2] The field of labor has been either neglected or marginalized in this debate.[3] In this article, we propose to overcome the disciplinary gap between the empirical reality of global labor and the normative discussion of global justice by drawing on a theoretical analysis of associative duties as well as the empirical study of transnational corporations (TNCs) production practices.

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2013-05-01

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HR Review; Human Resources; labor rights; duties; transnational production chains

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Required Publisher Statement: © Cornell HR Review. This article is reproduced here by special permission from the publisher.

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