References (60)



The Ethical and Economic Case Against Sweatshop Labor: A Critical Assessment

Benjamin Powell

Suffolk University

Matt Zwolinski

University of San Diego

October 19, 2011

Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 107, No. 4 (2012), pp. 449-472

During the last decade, scholarly criticism of sweatshops has grown increasingly sophisticated. This article reviews the new moral and economic foundations of these criticisms and argues that they are flawed. It seeks to advance the debate over sweatshops by noting the extent to which the case for sweatshops does, and does not, depend on the existence of competitive markets. It attempts to more carefully distinguish between different ways in which various parties might seek to modify sweatshop behavior, and to point out that there is more room for consensus regarding some of these methods than has previously been recognized. It addresses the question of when sweatshops are justified in violating local labor laws. And it assesses the relevance of recent literature on coercion and exploitation as it applies to sweatshop labor. It concludes with a list of challenges that critics of sweatshops must meet to productively advance the debate.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 24

Keywords: sweatshops, competition, exploitation, coercion

JEL Classification: D63

Accepted Paper Series

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Date posted: October 22, 2011 ; Last revised: May 6, 2012

Suggested Citation

Powell, Benjamin and Zwolinski, Matt, The Ethical and Economic Case Against Sweatshop Labor: A Critical Assessment (October 19, 2011). Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 107, No. 4 (2012), pp. 449-472. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1947569

Contact Information

Benjamin Powell
Suffolk University ( email )
Boston, MA 02108
United States
Matt Zwolinski (Contact Author)
University of San Diego ( email )
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-4094 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.sandiego.edu/~mzwolinski
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