Developing Effective Mechanisms for Implementing Labor Rights in the Global Economy

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Date of publication: May 10, 2000

Author: International Labor Rights Fund

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The major point of this paper is that workers in different countries are not adversaries and there is no actual conflict of interest between them. Broad-based economic development is a win-win proposition for workers. Workers in all countries must grasp that they are presently in a doomed competition for low wage jobs, while the MNCs are reaping the benefits of a global surplus of cheap labor. Workers everywhere must return to basics and act together to deal with the global power of MNCs. The unifying theme can be that all workers will benefit if global wages rise. The economic analysis supports this position. Workers in the North will benefit if rising wages in the South fuel consumer demand and a growing part of this is consumption of products from the North. If in fact workers in the South can enjoy rising incomes without suffering significant job loss, this will be a substantial benefit for them. The bottom line is that the global economy can not grow if workers in the U.S. and Europe, whose high wages fuel global demand for consumer goods, are losing their jobs to workers in the Philippines or El Salvador, who earn currently bare subsistence wages.