Publication Date



[Excerpt] It is a very positive development that the world community has now reached agreement on four core labor standards, described further below. The moral force of this agreement will help slow and possibly even reverse the infamous "race to the bottom"—for example, child labor in the carpet industries of India undermining Nepal's efforts to keep its carpet industry free of child labor (Hensman, 2000).

Ironically, some of the loudest and most strident voices against international labor standards come from the poorest parts of the world. My thesis in this chapter is that while some of the arguments being voiced against international labor standards have merit, others do not, and so I attempt to differentiate the good from the less good positions.

The paper proceeds as follows. Section II discusses international labor standards as they were and Section III international labor standards as they are. Section IV reviews the positions of developing countries with regard to international labor standards. The conclusions are summed up in Section V.


Suggested Citation

Fields, G. S. (2003). International labor standards and decent work: Perspectives from the developing world [Electronic version]. In R. J. Flanagan & W. B. Gould IV (Eds.), International labor standards: Globalization, trade, and public policy (pp. 61-80). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Required Publisher Statement

© Stanford University Press. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.