Global Big Business Is the Most Powerful Force for Improving Labor Standards in Developing Countries. Discuss.

4587 Words Aug 27th, 2008 19 Pages
Global big business is the most powerful force for improving labor standards in developing countries. Discuss.

In their insatiable hunt for increased profits, large corporations have developed an increasingly global presence. This presence exists to facilitate both the import and export of goods and reflects the fact that for many companies, potential customers are no longer restricted to the domestic market. Advancements in communications and logistics have rendered geographical distance between markets a relatively straightforward problem to overcome. This is demonstrated all over the world by the automobile industry. It is these advancements that have enabled big businesses, particularly those who manufacture tangible goods such as
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p105). This statement is correct, yet an estimated 8.4 million children are ‘trapped in the worst form of child labour’ (Save the Children, 2008) in developing countries. Treatment of children such as this would be illegal and publicly unacceptable in the US or UK. This suggests a deliberate strategic overlooking of labour standards in developing countries by TNCs.

The desire for increased profits is prevalent in multinational corporations and therefore it is hard for big businesses to resist any cost-saving measures or justify further expenditure without good cause, likely to enhance profits. Often improving labour standards in developing countries is not considered a good enough cause to warrant a fall in margins. The opinion of Professor Peter Odhiambo, head of Kenya’s National Tobacco Free Initiative Committee, is that ‘Multinationals are lethal, unethical and corrupting… They think they can arm-twist third World governments with threats of labour unrest and loss of revenues’ (Christian Aid, 2005). The ability to influence, or ‘arm twist’ governments indeed defines ‘big business’ and it is this influence that leads to criticism of an unstoppable ‘race to the bottom’. This race, ironically, is to ensure investment in the country and presumably therefore increases in living standards. However, if it does exist, the runners in the race

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