Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59df476f6b-tl4f7 Total loading time: 0.224 Render date: 2021-05-17T23:29:14.845Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true }

Sweatshops, Choice, and Exploitation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2015

Abstract:

This paper argues that sweatshop workers’ choices to accept the conditions of their employment are morally significant, both as an exercise of their autonomy and as an expression of their preferences. This fact establishes a moral claim against interference in the conditions of sweatshop labor by third parties such as governments or consumer boycott groups. It should also lead us to doubt those who call for MNEs to voluntarily improve working conditions, at least when their arguments are based on the claim that workers have a moral right to such improvement. These conclusions are defended against three objections: 1) that sweatshop workers’ consent to the conditions of their labor is not fully voluntary, 2) that sweatshops’ offer of additional labor options is part of an overall package that actually harms workers, 3) that even if sweatshop labor benefits workers, it is nevertheless wrongfully exploitative.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Business Ethics Quarterly 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

ACIT. (2000). ACIT Letter to University Presidents. Available at http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/acit/Documents/July29SweatshopLetter.pdf. Google Scholar
Aitken, B., Harrison, A., & Lipsey, R. 1996. Wages and foreign ownership: A comparative study of Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States. Journal of International Economics, 40: 345–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Anderson, W. 1996. Kathie Lee's children. The Free Market, 14. http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.asp?control=45&sortorder=articledate. Google Scholar
Arnold, D. G. 2001. Coercion and moral responsibility. American Philosophical Quarterly, 38: 5367.Google Scholar
Arnold, D. G. 2003. Exploitation and the sweatshop quandry. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13: 243–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnold, D. G., & Bowie, N. E. 2003. Sweatshops and respect for persons. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13: 221–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnold, D. G., & Hartman, L. 2003. Moral imagination and the future of sweatshops. Business and Society Review, 108: 425–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnold, D. G., & Hartman, L. 2005. Beyond sweatshops: Positive deviancy and global labour practices. Busi-ness Ethics: A European Review, 14: 206–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnold, D. G., & Hartman, L. 2006. Worker rights and low wage industrialization: How to avoid sweatshops. Human Rights Quarterly, 28: 676700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnold, D. G., Hartman, L., & Wokutch, R. E. 2003. Rising above sweatshops: Innovative approaches to global labor challenges. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.Google Scholar
Bernstein, A. 2002. Remember sweatshops? Business Week, September 30. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_39/c3801015.htm#B3801017. Google Scholar
Brandt, R. 1979. A theory of the good and the right. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Buchanan, A. 1988. Ethics, efficiency, and the market. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
Card, D., & Krueger, A. B. 1995. Myth and measurement: The new economics of the minimum wage. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Dworkin, R. 1997. Taking Rights Seriously. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google ScholarPubMed
Feinberg, J. 1984. Harm to others. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Fischer, J. M., & Ravizza, M. 1998. Responsibility and control: A theory of moral responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frankfurt, H. 1988. Freedom of the will and the concept of a person. In Frankfurt, H. (Ed.), The Importance of What We Care About. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hajewski, D. 2000. The unsettling price of low-cost clothes. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 29. http://www2.jsonline.com/bym/news/dec00/jeans31122900.asp. Google Scholar
Hartman, L., Shaw, B., & Stevenson, R. 2003. Exploring the ethics and economics of global labor standards: A challenge to integrated social contract theory. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13: 193220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hurd, H. 1996. The moral magic of consent. Legal Theory, 2: 121–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kant, Immanuel. 1997. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Gregor, M., Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Klein, D. 1997. Reputation: Studies in the voluntary elicitation of good conduct. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kleinig, J. 2001. Consent. In Becker, L. & Becker, C. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Ethics (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Kristof, N. D., & Wudunn, S. 2000. Two cheers for sweatshops. The New York Times, September 24. http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/20000924mag-sweatshops.html. Google Scholar
Krugman, P. 1997. In praise of cheap labor. Slate, March 21. http://www.slate.com/id/1918. Google Scholar
Mackenzie, C., & Stoljar, N. 2000. Relational autonomy: Feminist perspectives on autonomy, agency, and the social self. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Maitland, I. 1996. The great non-debate over international sweatshops. In Beauchamp, T. L. & Bowie, N. E. (Eds.), Ethical Theory and Business (6th ed.): 593605. Engelwood Cliffs, N.J.: Pretence Hall.Google Scholar
Merry, S. E. 1997. Rethinking gossip and scandal. In Klein 1997: 4774.Google Scholar
Meyers, C. 2004. Wrongful beneficence: Exploitation and third world sweatshops. Journal of Social Philosophy, 35: 319–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miller, J. 2003. Why economists are wrong about sweatshops and the antisweatshop movement. Challenge, January/February: 93122.Google Scholar
Morse, S. J. 2000. Uncontrollable urges and irrational people. Virginia Law Review, 88: 1025–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Murray, J. 2003. The global context: Multinational enterprises, labor standards, and regulation. In Arnold, Hartman, & Wokutch 2003: 2748.Google Scholar
Nagel, T. 1997. Equality and priority. Ratio, 10: 202–21.Google Scholar
National Labor Committee. 2006. Support grows for anti-sweatshop legislation. Available at http://www.nlcnet.org/live/article.php?id=120 Accessed September 19, 2006.Google Scholar
Neumark, D., & Wascher, W. 1992. Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: Panel data on state minimum wage laws. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 46: 5581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Neumark, D., & Wascher, W. 1994. Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: Reply to Card, Katz, and Krueger. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 47: 497512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Neumark, D., & Wascher, W. 1996. The effects of minimum wages on teenage employment and enrollment: Evidence from matched cps surveys. Research in Labor Economics, 15: 2563.Google Scholar
Nickel, J. 2005. Who needs freedom of religion? Colorado Law Review, 76: 909–33.Google Scholar
Nozick, R. 1969. Coercion. In Morgenbesser, S. (Ed.), Philosophy, Science and Method. New York: St. Martin's Press.Google Scholar
Nozick, R. 1974. Anarchy, state, and utopia. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
O'Neill, O. 1985. Between consenting adults. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 14: 252–77.Google Scholar
O'Neill, O. 1986. A simplified account of Kant's ethics. In White, J. E. (Ed.), Contemporary moral problems (4th ed.). New York: West Publishing Company.Google Scholar
Parfit, D. 1998. Equality and priority. In Mason, A. (Ed.), Ideals of Equality. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Powell, B. 2006. In reply to sweatshop sophistries. Human Rights Quarterly, 28: 1031–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Powell, B., & Skarbek, D. 2006. Sweatshops and third world living standards: Are the jobs worth the sweat? Journal of Labor Research, 27: 263–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Radcliffe Richards, J. 1996. Nephrarious goings on: Kidney sales and moral arguments. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 21: 375416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rawls, J. 1971. A theory of justice (1st ed.). Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
Rawls, J. 1993. Political liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Sample, R. 2003. Exploitation: What it is and why it's wrong. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
SASL. 2001. Scholars Against Sweatshop Labor Statement. Available at http://www.peri.umass.edu/SASL-Statement.253.0.html. Accessed September 12, 2006.Google Scholar
U.S. General Accounting Office, H. R. D. 1988. Sweatshops in the U.S.: Opinions on their extent and possible enforcement options. Washington, D.C. Google Scholar
Unger, P. 1996. Living high and letting die. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
UNICEF. 1997. State of the world's children 1997. Oxford.Google Scholar
Watson, G. 1975. Free agency. Journal of Philosophy, 72: 205–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wertheimer, A. 1996. Exploitation. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Wertheimer, A. 2003. Consent to sexual relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wertheimer, A. 2005. Matt Zwolinski's “Choosingsweatshops”: A commentary. Unpublished manuscript, presented at the Arizona Current Research Workshop, January 2007, Tucson.Google Scholar
Wertheimer, A. 2006. Coercion. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Williams, N., & Mills, J. A. 2001. The minimum wage and teenage employment: Evidence from time series. Applied Economics, 33: 285300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zwolinski, M. 2006. Sweatshops. In Ciment, J. (Ed.), Social issues encyclopedia. New York: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Sweatshops, Choice, and Exploitation
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Sweatshops, Choice, and Exploitation
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Sweatshops, Choice, and Exploitation
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *