This blog focuses on how policymakers and the public around the world can find ways to promote human rights as they expand trade.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Trade is not the only or best tool to fight Slavery
Ending Slavery at its Roots
Susan Ariel Aaronson
Two hundred years ago, both the United States and Great Britain banned trade in slaves. But the 1807 ban did not end slavery.Brits and Americans alike were complicit in an economy build on slaves.America’s cotton fueled Britain’s textile mills. America
The working class in both countries feared competition from slave labor, and dismissed the links between the slaves that produced the cotton and wage slaves that made the cloth.The economic interdependence was broken only by the Civil War.
Many of us look back on that history with revulsion; yet modern Americans are also complicit in slavery.We save for retirement or college by investing in companies that often without intent, perpetuate slavery.And we purchase a wide range of goods from chocolate to cars that include components made by forced and even slave labor.For example, in November 2006, Bloomberg News reported that many companies, includin
Susan Aaronson is Research Associate Professor at the George Washington University Graduate School of Business and the Elliott School of International Affairs. Aaronson is a frequent speaker on public understanding of globalization issues. She was a regular commentator on “All Things Considered” in 1994-1995, “Marketplace” from 1995-1998, and “Morning Edition,” 1998-2001. She has also appeared on CNN, the BBC, and PBS. She is the author of 6 books and numerous articles on trade, investment, business and human rights and other globalization issues.
Aaronson received her doctorate in economic history from Johns Hopkins University and a masters in International Affairs from Columbia University. She has also been a Guest Scholar in Economics at the Brookings Institution (1995-1999).
Aaronson serves on the Advisory Board for Business- Human Rights and is a pro-bono advisor to the UN Special Representative on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights; the ILO, and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. She can be reached at email@example.com.