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    • July 2008
    • 9780231140485
  • 232 Pages
  • Hardcover
  • $50.00

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    • July 2008
    • 9780231512961
  • 232 Pages
  • E-book
  • $49.99

International Trade and Labor Standards

A Proposal for Linkage

Christian Barry and Sanjay Reddy

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.

About the Author

Christian Barry teaches philosophy in the School of Humanities and is a senior research fellow at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University, and his research interests include international ethics, global justice, and the philosophy of action.

Sanjay G. Reddy is an assistant professor of economics at Barnard College and at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, and his research interests include development economics, international economics, and economics and philosophy.

An impeccably reasoned and convincing argument in favor of labor standards as part of trade agreements... Highly recommended.

a thoughtful, interesting, and generally well written account of a contentioussubject.

Amitrajeet A. Batabyal

required reading as one of the most important books of recent years

Michael Pollak

Barry and Reddy also make innovative moral arguments that subvert standard economic assumptions.

Lisa Fuller

the book is a refreshingly controversial contribution.

Miriam Ronzoni

List of TablesPrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. What Is Linkage? Two Propositions2. Three Types of Linkage, and What Linkage Proponents Must Show3. What Linkage Opponents Must Show4. Arguments Against Linkage5. Ruling Out Linkage Proposals6. Identifying Linkage Proposals That Meet the Standard Objections--A Constructive Procedure7. A Sketch of a Linkage System8. ConclusionAppendix. Empirical Evidence on the Likely Effects of Improvements in Labor StandardsCommentary by Kyle Bagwell: Economic Theory, WTO Rules, and LinkageCommentary by Rohini Hensman: Fine-Tuning the Linkage ProposalCommentary by Robert Goodin: The Ethics of Political LinkageCommentary by Roberto Mangabeira Unger: The Transformative Imagination and the World Trading SystemReply to CommentatorsNotesIndex