Questions arise as to whether to use all American laws, such as Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which includes rules about the minimum wage and guaranteed overtime, as standards to judge U.S. corporations that use suppliers in Asia for cheaper labor. Bringing these laws into the calculus may be going too far. Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor at Columbia Law, argued that “full Western-style protections are not affordable in poor countries which generally lack many of the protections that have come gradually with development.” Bhagwati qualified “that there are many low-cost protections which are well within reach and which every society today owes to its workers and citizens.” Read more
This is Part I of a two part series. Part II will be published on Friday morning. This is a cross post with the Fordham Corporate Law Forum.
A Foxconn factory likely created the device you’re using to read this post, as Foxconn manufactures over 40 percent of the world’s electronics for companies including Apple, Dell, Amazon, Sony, and Motorola. Headquartered in Taiwan, Foxconn employs over 1.2 million people, making it China’s largest private employer. Recent reports about Foxconn, summarized below, raise challenging normative questions related to the social responsibilities of corporations and separate yet related matters of international justice. More specifically, to what extent should a successful American company ensure that its suppliers and subcontractors are paying their workers fair wages and providing safe and comfortable working conditions? Read more