Human Rights and International Political Economy in Third World Nations: Multinational Corporations, Foreign Aid, and Repression

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What impact do international economic inputs have on human rights in Third World nations? William Meyer explores the effects of direct investment by U.S. multinational corporations, economic and military aid, and MNC manufacturing plants. He examines the international political economy of human rights at both the national and the international levels. Case studies are combined with quantitative studies that use aggregate cross-national data, and theories that link MNCs to human rights are subjected to empirical testing.

As Meyer illustrates, at the national level, human rights violations are associated with U.S. MNCs in Chile, Honduras, India, Indonesia, and Mexico. MNCs have been especially guilty of violating labor rights, particularly through their reliance on sweatshops. MNCs have also been responsible for widespread pollution and environmental degradation. At a broader international level, increased investment by MNCs tends to go along with human rights improvements in the Third World as a whole. Meyer shows that there is a broad positive relationship between direct investment by MNCs and broader political rights and improved living standards. Aggregate data are also analyzed for human rights as compared to U.S. economic and military aid. Economic aid is found to be associated with improved civil-political rights and improved socioeconomic rights. Military aid, by contrast, is associated with declining levels of civil rights and with lower levels of social welfare. This book will serve as an important study for researchers, activists, and students of human rights.

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Editorial Reviews

Including case studies of sweat shops in India, Chile, and Mexico, this text explores the impact of the economic activity of multinational corporations (MNCs) and foreign aid on relative levels of human rights abuses in less developed countries. While finding that certain MNCs, such as Nike and Wal-Mart, have been implicated in serious and systemic human rights abuses, the author claims that, on a general international level, MNC activity and foreign development aid have a beneficial effect on human rights over time. Conversely, he finds that military aid has a deleterious effect on human rights. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275962807
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/20/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

WILLIAM H. MEYER is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Delaware.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Universal Human Rights in a Cross-Cultural Context 5
2 Foreign Policy and Human Rights 37
3 Human Rights and Multinational Corporations: Investing in Repression? 83
4 Human Rights and Foreign Aid 113
5 Case Studies of Multinational Corporations and Human Rights 141
6 Conclusion 197
Selected Bibliography 221
Index 233
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