Progressive governments in poor countries fear that if they
undertake measures to enhance real wages and working conditions,
rising labor costs would cause wealthier countries to import from
and invest elsewhere. Yet if the world trading system were designed
to facilitate or even reward measures to promote labor standards,
poor countries could undertake them without fear.
In this book, Christian Barry and Sanjay G. Reddy propose ways
in which the international trading system can support poor
countries in promoting the well-being of their peoples. Reforms to
the trading system can lessen the collective-action problem among
poor countries, increasing their freedom to pursue policy that
better serves the interests of their people. Incorporating the
right kind of linkage between trading opportunities and the
promotion of labor standards could empower countries, allowing them
greater effective sovereignty and enabling them to improve the
circumstances of the less advantaged.
Barry and Reddy demonstrate how linkage can be made acceptable
to all players, and they carefully defend these ideas against those
who might initially disagree. Their volume is accessible to general
readers but draws on sophisticated economic and philosophical
arguments and includes responses from leading labor activists,
economists, and philosophers, including Kyle Bagwell, Robert
Goodin, Rohini Hensman, and Roberto Mangabeira Unger.
Subjects: Economics, Law, Political Science
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