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. 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.  The field of labor has been either neglected or marginalized in this debate. 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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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.