Labor Clause defense

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at Princeton.EDU
Wed Apr 12 09:49:30 PDT 2000

it is not a matter of
>workers trying to impose something on to defenceless developing countries:
>these are standards which the governments and the employers and the
>workers from developing countries have all voted for.

Michael P(ollak), I don't see what's new here, and didn't want to reply to Waghorne's comment until someone downloaded the piece to which he was responding. No fair trade without free debate.

Grant him his good faith and his pro labor credentials--he spends much ink here in self defense. The point remains that even in terms of these basic standards most countries, including the US, are delinquent. So what then governs against whom the social clause will be applied? Do you think that Bangladesh is not deliquent! Why then has the AFL CIO not fought its quota increase? Did I miss his addressing of this question? What's the new stuff that impressed you?

> Neither did any of the government
>delegations at the WTO which support our position call for the use of
>sanctions - one loose-tongued President may have done so but he was
>promptly (but diplomatically) disowned by his official delegation.

Oh great Waghorne takes his dues to pursue this campaign in august assemblies on behalf of the workers he claims to represent and then tells his outside critics that his campaign is really a sham, a toothless reform that can't even really protect anyone. Why exactly is he wasting everyone's time? He says that labor will use assistance and persuastion to get countries to meet standards--why would that work. how is it different than what is already happening? And what strings will be attached to that assistance? Who will give it? This is all very vague, and hardly seems worth the time and money that is being spent on it.

>* The claim that it is only unions and governments in the North who call
>for these standards to be applied: in the ICFTU and in organisations such
>as PSI (and we all have affiliates in 140- 150 countries), our people from
>the South to the North are overwhelmingly in support of these claims and
>so are many of their governments.
In the absract it sound good, but will all these unionists support it once they see how it really works?

>fact, the fear is in the South, where governments and workers and
>employers who respect these standards and are winning/attracting trade and
>investment will lose these to other developing countries such as China
>which violate the core labour standards and so can out-compete the good
>developing countries.

Absolutely true, though I don't know if it makes much sense to imply that Bangladesh or Honduras is a workers' paradise, relatively speaking. And it doesn't mean giving the power of sanctions to the WTO is a good way to solve the real problem.

>* . Not just words but money and action to back this work.

Not enough money, not enough worthwhile education, and indeed not enough real elimination of child labor due to pressure of child import bans which just tend to drive it underground or into worse kinds of employment.

Yours, Rakesh

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