Trading Away Our Rights

Submitted By Luka-Divac
Words: 667
Pages: 3

Reading Review #2 – “Trading Away Our Rights” by Kate Raworth
November 1, 2014

In her article, Kate Raworth emphasizes on globalization and the negative impacts it has had on women in developing countries. Raworth’s claim that globalization has drawn millions of women into paid employment across the developing world is evidence-based, especially in the fresh-produce and garment-sewing industries. Despite the fact that the work these women do fuels national export growth, and despite the potential for their jobs to lift them and their families out of poverty, Raworth argues that they are systematically being denied their employment benefits and basic human rights. This article corresponds to McMichael chapters 2 and 4 in regards to highlighting how corporate-lead trade agreements diminish the role of the state. Under globalization, trade agreements are able to restrict governments by making them vulnerable to newly introduced rules and regulations. Logically, this means that governments are not able to protect their citizens, and, instead, leave them unprotected from corporate manipulation. In regards to this article, women are paying the social costs. For instance, in Bangladesh’s garment export sector, women workers not only do not have maternity leave, but they also have no health coverage. Furthermore, eighty per cent of them fear job loss if they complain. The pressures emanating from trade agreements have forced many developing countries to create labour laws and practices that put the needs of corporations before the rights of women workers (meeting the day’s production targets versus not being overworked), as seen in Bangladesh. The dismantling of essential labour standards is a natural desire for corporations. It ensures for a quick and cheap supply of products to be produced and sold, which, in turn, accumulates profit. As seen in the documentary “The Corporation,” profit is at the top of the corporate agenda, which means that human rights tend to be trampled on as a result of not being the immediate priority. Therefore, ‘just-in-time’ delivery of goods is crucial to generating profit. Raworth’s argument is strong in regards to this belief. For instance, she states that Moroccan factories producing for Spain’s major department store, El Corte Ingles, must turn orders around in less than seven days. She quoted a production-planning manager saying that “[they] pull out all the stops to meet the deadline.” The fear is that if profits are not made for the shareholders, corporations may take their business elsewhere, where abusive profit-making labour standards are practiced. Such abusive labour standards were well portrayed in the documentary “China Blue,” where