Genevieve lebaronDr LeBaron’s Article on Business Ethics Published in Prestigious US Foreign Policy Magazine

An invited article by Dr Genevieve LeBaron that questions the ethics of sub-contracting in global supply chains has been published in a prestigious US foreign policy magazine.

Dr LeBaron’s article, ‘Subcontracting is Not Illegal, but is it Unethical? Business Ethics, Forced Labour and Economic Success’, was recently published in the Brown Journal of World Affairs, 20.2 Spring/Summer Issue.

The Brown Journal of World Affairs is a semi-annual journal of international relations and foreign policy produced at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. The Journal features original articles by and interviews with world leaders, policymakers, and prominent academics. Each issue is composed of several thematic sections that showcase unique and incisive scholarship on the salient international issues of today and tomorrow. Past contributors include Madeleine Albright, John Kerry, Noam Chomsky, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Joseph Stiglitz. The Journal was founded in 1993 and publishes two issues a year, in spring and winter.

Abstract for Dr LeBaron’s article:

Growing concern about forced labor, slavery, and human trafficking has paralleled the rapid growth of multinational corporations in recent decades. As big brand firms like Walmart, Nike, and Apple have expanded in sales and power, their product and labor supply chains have grown increasingly complex. Today, supply chains can include hundreds of thousands of suppliers and intermediaries, and are increasingly fragmented as firms engage in ever more complex forms of subcontracting. There is no law preventing subcontracting, and it has thus far been unquestioned and left undisrupted by government and corporate social responsibility efforts to “slavery- proof” supply chains. Yet, subcontracting is fuelling exploitative labor practices, including forced labor and slavery, and must therefore be reconsidered on an ethical basis. If subcontracting is fuelling forced labor, is it unethical? If so, this must change our understanding of corporate responsibility for labor practices within global supply chains, and prompts us to consider whether eradicating forced labor will require more profound change to contemporary business models than is generally contemplated in debates about slavery and supply chains.

The article will be published online later this year at: http://brown.edu/initiatives/journal-world-affairs/archive.