Flawed strategies to reducing labor exploitations: Reassessing the role of private actors in the global supply chain
PhD student: Dr M.T. Kawakami
Promotors: Prof J.M. Smits, Dr G.W.L. Low
Duration: 1/4/2012 - 31/3/2016
PhD defence: Maastricht, 17/5/2017
This research starts by asking the question of whether the plethora of existing instruments, which aims to reduce the human rights violations taking place in our global supply chain today, is meeting the lofty goals that they themselves have established. These measures - often spearheaded by national governments and supranational organizations - are very much necessary and important, but arguably inadequate and possibly anemic. Not only are national governments limited by budgetary, political, and judicial constraints, but the weak enforcement powers of the international legal order and its soft power is rather illusory and hopelessly idealistic. The aim of this research is to propose an alternative legal framework - or possibly a framework that can work parallel to the existing structure - to better deal with this complex international problem. The proposed framework will be based primarily on the private sector relying on private law. By incorporating ideas such as positive exponential externalities, multinational private initiatives, and human rights enforcement via contractual obligations, this research proposes a new design though admittedly optimistic that attempts to galvanize the private sector, incentivize them to internalize their own costs, and thus contribute in making the global supply chain a more fair environment for the exploited workers.