Trade Liberalization, Labour Law, and Development: A Contextualization
International Institute for Labour Studies, Discussion Paper Series, No. 179
43 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2010
Date Written: 2007
This literature review emphasizes institutional analyses of trade law, while engaging some of the development literature. It focuses in some senses on what the mainstream literature may be seen to neglect, but in doing so considers that from a legal/institutional perspective one appreciates that the relationship between trade liberalization and labour law is constructed, shaped, redirected by state action. It is not the autonomous market, but rather economic activity embedded in social institutions, institutions which were constructed with a hermetic vision of the scope for national public policy in industrialized market economies of the North. Not only must the development of trade law be appreciated within its historical context to understand its intimate relationship with labour regulation in the North and labour commodification in the South. The contemporary challenges to labour regulation in low income settings of the South are also ripe for a less deterministic analysis of the impact of trade regulation once contemporary regulatory action is considered broadly, and across governance levels. It is argued that the relationship between trade liberalization and labour law must be understood as constantly reconstructed across governance levels and with a view to forms of distributive justice beyond national borders.
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