[Author Name(s), First M. Last, Omit Titles and Degrees]
[Include any grant/funding information and a complete correspondence address.]
Globalization of corporations has affected the geography, people and the economic system. It is not surprising to understand that globalization has developed across borders to progress in trade; however globalization has not been beneficial for the people as the advantages of globalization are savored only by the corporations. The present approach of globalization has made people lose their national identity. The developed nations, for example, United States is considered to provide good living standards, and job opportunities compared to the developing and under developed nations. This paper discusses the issues globalization, global financial authority and human rights exploitations of host country nationals employed at US based Multi-national Companies (MNC), or vendors of US based MNC’s.
Global trade has been in existence since the colonialism era; however it can be dated back to the different civilizations globally. Modern globalization has increased in the past few decades with advanced technologies in all domains, resulting in global economic commerce that has flourished as a result of the white collar opportunities in the Multi-national corporations. The various thought processes that associate globalization are the geography, economy, politics, culture and lawful activities of a country.
Human rights are an essential component of the globalization process. The developed countries, for example, the western countries gradually use their human rights opinions to evaluate the developing countries, and reach an agreement with the economic and trade dealings to extend and strengthen their development aid. Due to the opinion of the developed countries about human rights, globalization generates many disadvantages by increasing paucity, uncertainty, society dispersion and intrudes upon human rights and people’s respect.
History of Globalization and Human Rights
Modern conceptions of human rights originated in Europe and America, and the story of its inception is embedded in the political, commercial and industrial changes associated with the rise of west and comparative decline of challenging civilizations . Human rights and globalization are associated with each other and it is assumed that globalization began in the mid-twentieth century and has deepened in the past few decades. The radical transformation in globalization has made capitalism prominent leading to international economic and social relations in the world. During the radical transformation the peasants became artisans and members of the urban working class; they migrated from villages to cities and moved from closed, church-based societies to more open, secular communities . Capitalism has always favored the rich, and the struggle for human rights since ages has only been by the workers for their political freedom and social status.
Labor Factories and Human Rights
Throughout the history of industrialization, numerous companies, factories and workplaces were the labor factories, as these factories abused poor people’s human rights, and hired them to work for MNC’s under pathetic working conditions such as unsafe working environment, low-wages without job safety. These factories are also termed as “sweatshop factories”. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), sweatshop is defined as a place of employment that violates two or more federal or state laws governing minimum wage and overtime, child labor, industrial homework occupational safety and health, workers compensation or industry registration . A few products that are generally produced in sweatshops are shoes, apparel, carpets, coffee, chocolate, and toys. Sweatshops do not improve poverty. The remuneration made by labors though such sweatshops is only sufficient for their food.
Sweatshops in Veracity. Sweatshops are the places that have very poor working environment, long working hours with low wages without any benefits to the workers. In such places verbal, physical and sexual abuse are very common, and both the genders, male and female labors are subjected to these abuses by their superiors. The superiors make these labors forcible work day and night in multiple shifts in order to gain more production. The ratio of female laborers is more than men in sweatshops, and as a result they are forced by their managers or employers to use contraceptives to avoid any pregnancy. In the list of developed countries, Unites States claims to have the best labor laws; however, the country has not achieved total freedom from sweatshops as many companies still follow the sweatshop tradition by disrespecting the rules of Department of Labor.
Situation of Labors in Developing Countries. Thousands of labors in developing countries receive low-wages and work in unhealthy work atmosphere, in both relative and unconditional terms. Most of the workers of developing countries are working for the developed countries, and in turn losing their basic human rights. Two kinds of workers originate from these developing countries; First, the skilled workers who have migrated to a developed nation, professionally settled, and are currently relishing complete safety of their human rights. Second, the poor and unskilled workers who have migrated to a developed nation, and still are suffering to gain their basic human rights.
The problems of human rights affect these workers because of the discrimination and xenophobia, distressed integration and their national identity. The poor unskilled laborers undergo inequality in all forms when they leave their host nation and migrate for better opportunities. This is the main reason for the travelers and national minority workers to face greater difficulties than the mainstream inhabitants.
Sweatshop Working Conditions in Host Countries
Multi-national companies stimulate the labor markets, influence the employment settings and labor ethics in the host countries. Most host countries aspire today not to avoid globalization, but to harness it in a way to reduce poverty and in turn increase national revenue . Global capital movements are caused by the existence of MNC’s. The globalization philosophy makers are concerned that the MNC’s worsen the labor conditions in the host countries. The commercial activity in the yet to develop countries, gives inadequate scope for the direct foreign affiliate effect on the working conditions. People in developing countries are more inclined towards agriculture, and traditionally run family businesses, and very few people go through the unfavorable labor situations in the manufacturing industries, which can be only through the MNC’s. The MNC’s also face difficulty in recruitment and retention of employees, if unfavorable conditions are provided in the plants set up in a host country. These pitiful labor conditions in host-country acquisitions lead to more worker attritions in the MNC’s, as the workers leave such companies and join the local companies in search of better work environment and good benefits. The following sections describe the working conditions in companies like Apple, Foxconn, Nike and Ford Motors.
Working conditions in Apple. The American MNC Apple.Inc is the largest producer and seller of electronic devices, ranging from computers to cellphones. With most of its products being manufactured in China, the company decreases its manufacturing cost by paying low wages to the host workers. As argued by , efforts to find cheap labor and poor labor standards cannot be the primary factor motivating the international distribution of foreign direct investment (FDI) as majority of it is given to countries with good working conditions. Apple’s development and status for invention and revolution in electronic industry stands on the unstable grounds of low-wages and deprived work conditions in Chinese sweatshops. Managers and supervisors in these sweatshops displayed ruthless behavior towards the labors and found reasons to cut their wages, if their rules were not followed.
Human rights abuse in Chinese Vendors. While working for Apple, the Chinese vendors made the labors work excessively above their limited work hours without providing a single day off in a week, and pooled all laborers in packed dorms. The labors were not allowed to sit as they worked standing for long hours resulting in their legs getting swollen, and later they could barely walk. Health and safety measures were not followed according to the protocols of International Labor Organization (ILO). Apple had been dictating enormous orders on these vendors, who under pressure from their client added extra hours on labors, violating Apple culture. Apple had failed to place proper labor conditions in combination with its rapid production and price.
Working conditions in Foxconn. Foxconn is a Taiwanese based MNC that works as a sweatshop for Apple.Inc, and manufactures electrical connectors for computer components. This company is a very good example of sweatshop conditions as it has been into media multiple times for abusing human rights. Child labor, long working hours, discrimination between the Chinese employees and Taiwanese employees, and unfavorable relations with the superiors are a few cases that makes Foxconn an entrant in the MNC’s that abuse human rights.
The working condition in 2010 was completely unacceptable and as a result of this condition, few employees committed suicide due the stress, work pressure, low-wages and long working hours. Child labor was a common issue in Foxconn and children below the age of 16 were allowed to work in the manufacturing unit. The sweatshop had violated many rules laid by the ILO, and this body has been continuously monitoring Foxconn after so many violations by the company.
Apple.Inc entrance in China. China is considered to be an approachable and outgoing country for the Apple products. Apple, in collaboration with Foxconn as a vendor made an entrance into the Chinese market, taking advantage of the low wages. Efforts to attract foreign investment also led the Chinese government to relax geographic restrictions on multinationals’ labor recruitment . To build and keep up a good professional relation with Apple, Foxconn stripped basic human rights of the employees. The main reason for Apple to enter China was to increase the worth of the product, decrease the production cost, and trade in Chinese market.
Working conditions in Nike. Nike, the MNC dealing with design, production, and selling footwear has been criticized numerous times for the horrifying work conditions at its manufacturing plants. Nike has come under scanner of labor organizations for outsourcing employment to emerging countries to abuse low-cost labor and increase profits. Nike designs and markets its products but contracts out production activities to companies in low-wage foreign countries . Majority of Nike’s manufacturing happens in the South East Asian countries like Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, and Hong-Kong to name a few. Nike uses cheap labor in South East Asia, where they can get away from the tighter enforcement and regulations of USA and Europe . Though the company has been ranked at the top in sports and clothing brand, the company has been charged of sweatshops and child labor. The Indonesian sweatshop consists more of women laborers who undergo unjustified treatment from their managers for making any mistakes.
Consequences of deprived Human Rights. Human rights abuses have been ongoing on the host country nationals employed in Nike, and Nike takes the complete responsibility to inquire such abuses and take actions. Labors in the Cambodian unit have raised their voices on the working conditions due to the low wages and unfair work conditions. The fight for the basic human rights led the police to intervene the riots that left many injured and many protesting workers had to lose their jobs. Observing the unfair work practices and human rights abuses in the host countries, Nike derived many plans to cut relations with these vendors; however they still continue to do business with the countries that have no printed labor regulations.
Working conditions in Ford Motor Company. Ford Motor Company is an American MNC and one of the largest automobile manufacturers. Ford operates on the basic principles of its code of conduct and gives prominence to the human rights; collective, national, governmental, radical and civil dimensions. The company treats all employees with respect and does not entertain any discrimination. The code of conduct depicts the importance of Human Rights and makes many fundamental strategies to be followed in its supply chain business. The long term goals of Ford are to make certain that the prospects of human rights is met accordingly, and ensure all the vendors, employees, contractors and government agencies participate and enforce the regulations governing operations to make it sustainable in the future for the automotive supply chain.
Accessing work conditions in Ford. The working conditions in Ford and its suppliers are similar, in all its plants worldwide, and the company believes in following the similar strategy throughout the globe. The regulatory bodies such as Ford’s sustainability and environmental policy, and Labor Affairs, conduct a survey on the working conditions using a questionnaire, which is provided to all the employees and the vendors and a detailed review is gathered. These results are provided to the human rights organizations that in turn provide any suggestions for any changes. The company is also in ties with third party surveyors that justify if the company is diligently following the actual process of providing human rights.
Monitoring and Enforcing Human Rights.
Human rights are inescapable and fundamental rights of human beings that are valid in every nation, and must be considered equal for all human beings. The first United Nations body was the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), to protect and encourage human rights. The Ofﬁce of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is buoyant than UNCHR. OHCHR monitors the Human Rights by convicting the rude governments and proving them guilty in the media. Human Rights violation can be alerted to the Human Rights Council (HRC) through the grievance mechanism, and any complaints from any individual or organization are considered important by HRC.
Creating a Positive Model.
Globalization can result in both positive and negative social changes . Nations must open up their markets, admire people, and create prospects to all citizens for the societies to eradicate poverty. In the current situation the poor don’t create opportunities or MNC’s, but they become a part of the MNC. Struggle for human rights in this globalized can be reduced if; the poor countries ideally build their own industries, with their own internal markets .
The MNCs pickup resources from the deprived host-countries, abuse labor and transfer the profits already developed nations. This bias treatment makes some countries richer and the other remain poorer. Such situations exploit economy in the nation and create labor conflicts. Globalization has currently rundown many people of their basic human rights through the sweatshops, and the labors can achieve their human if the MNC’s in host countries respect and treat every labor equally.
Flanagan, R. J., & Matsushita, K. (2006). Globalization and Labor Conditions : Working Conditions and Worker Rights in a Global Economy: Working Conditions and Worker Rights in a Global Economy. Oxford University Press.
Hapke, L. (2004). Sweatshop: The History of an American Idea (Illustrated ed.). Rutgers University Press.
Howard-Hassmann, R. E. (2010). Can Globalization Promote Human Rights? (Illustrated ed.). Penn State Press.
Ishay, M. (2004). The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era (Illustrated ed.). University of California Press.
Shah, A. (2006, May 28). Corporations and Worker’s Rights. Retrieved from www.globalissues.org: http://www.globalissues.org/article/57/corporations-and-workers-rights