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Exploitation and Sweatshop Labor: Perspectives and Issues

  • Jeremy Snyder

In this review, I survey theoretical accounts of exploitation in business, chiefly through the example of low wage or sweatshop labor. Labor of this kind is often described as self-evidently exploitative and immoral. But for defenders of sweatshops as the first rung on a ladder toward greater economic development, the charge that sweatshop labor is self-evidently exploitative is unconvincing. I aim to accomplish three tasks. First, I will provide an overview of the many different uses of the charge of exploitation in business practice through an examination of the uses of the term in the literature on sweatshop labor. Second, I will discuss which of these senses of exploitation are defensible as identifying clear moral wrongs that take place in the context of business and, specifically, sweatshop labor. Third, I will apply the lessons learned from my exploration of exploitation in sweatshop labor to other specific areas of business.

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Business Ethics Quarterly
  • ISSN: 1052-150X
  • EISSN: 2153-3326
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