The Effects of Globalization on Labor Conditions Video

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  • 0:03 Globalization and…
  • 1:16 Migration and Labor Conditions
  • 2:23 Combating Worker Exploitation
  • 3:51 The Power of Labor Unions
  • 4:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amina Borrero
In this lesson, we'll discuss the effects of globalization on labor conditions around the world. Migration, worker exploitation, and the roles of unions in improving working conditions will also be examined.

Globalization and Labor Conditions

As more and more countries around the world begin trading with one another, there is an increase in the amount of goods and services being exchanged, which in turn leads to more jobs. Markets from across the world are now connected to one another through globalization, or the international integration of businesses in different states' economies. For instance, a company in China opens a manufacturing plant in Mexico to produce TVs to be sold in the United States. One of the benefits of globalization is that more workers are able to compete within the labor market as a whole. In general, this competition is beneficial for everyone, since it provides the opportunity for people to work and for employers to keep costs low by utilizing a large labor pool.

In many developed countries, there are laws that protect workers and businesses by establishing strict regulations for labor conditions, or the conditions in which people work. This can be related to when and how long they work, the amount they are paid, and the availability of safety equipment and safeguards for the workers. As globalization brings more developing countries into the global marketplace, there is a need to establish laws to protect workers around the world.

Migration and Labor Conditions

One of the effects of globalization is the migration of labor forces, something we started to see many decades ago. This migration occurs when people from one country or area move to another in pursuit of work and new opportunities. In recent history, this has become problematic for many countries. The influx of immigrant workers can have a pronounced effect on labor markets within a region or a country. Many times, these workers are willing to work for less than the general population of an area. This leaves them vulnerable for exploitation, as many of the workers may have immigrated illegally and will seek employment with individuals or companies that may not follow all employment laws.

Another aspect of migration and labor conditions is the use of migrant workers. Migrant workers are workers who travel from area to area and take on different jobs based on seasons in the agriculture sector. These individuals often have to work in extreme conditions (outdoors in the elements) and under severe time constraints (harvesting must occur within a specific time frame to be profitable). As a result, this type of seasonal work often results in worker exploitation.

Combating Worker Exploitation

To help prevent worker exploitation, many countries enact legislation to protect workers from exploitative work practices. Laws governing worker pay, minimum age requirements, and workplace safety all help to protect workers and employers. When globalization becomes a factor, countries may have no control over the laws and practices of their trading partners. At times, this lack of control or influence can create an unfair trade advantage among partnering countries. To combat this, many countries have started to include language in their trade agreements to specify expectations when it comes to labor conditions.

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