By Rebecca Cassler, ILRF Intern
This post is the first in a series about the relationship between organized labor and economic growth.
Over the last few decades, policy makers, analysts and pundits have often posited that the suppression of labor, be it in the form of restrictions on freedom of association, limitations placed on unions in politics and decision-making, anti-union legislation, or even anti-labor violence, is a necessary precondition for growth in developing economies. Economist Paul Krugman argues that transnational corporations with manufacturing facilities abroad do poorer nations a favor by supplying them with ‘awful’ working conditions for very little pay, since these jobs are better than the alternative - no jobs at all and rural poverty. Nicholas Kristof echoes Krugman’s arguments when he claims that denouncing sweatshops hurts the poorest more than helps them.