Globalisation, labour standards and economic development
In recent years a few advanced countries have been advocating multilateral rules permitting punitive trade measures to be taken against countries not upholding core labour standards. The mainly developing target countries have rebutted these initiatives which they argue are protectionist, in intent and in effect. Whilst closely examining the economic arguments in this controversy, this paper is also concerned with the broader political and moral dimensions. The authors suggest that developing countries are committed to improving core and other labour standards; the reason why they are unable to implement many of these forthwith is not because of the wickedness of their governments, but essentially their economic circumstances and the structure of their economies. The paper concludes that core ILO Conventions 87 and 98 should be re-drafted to take into account the economic conditions of developing countries.
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