Every single nation around the world pursues the objective of raising the standards of life for its citizens. As a result, some nations have successfully raised the standards of living of their residents, while there are others whose standards of living are still low due to reasons such as political instability, poor technology, and natural calamities. Therefore, this essay is going to discuss in details the three distinct groups of nations according to their standards of living, the effects that the US imports have on the workers and whether their employee rights are adhered to.
Standards of Living
Economists have divided nations into three groups that include developed countries, countries in transition, and developing countries (Lane, Maznevski, Mendenhall, & McNett, 2004). According to World Bank (2009), developed countries are the countries that possess a highly advanced economy and a developed infrastructure related to technology. In addition, since the criteria for evaluating how developed a country is are per capita, gross domestic product, and gross national product, the per capital of developed countries ranges from a GDP of 60.8% and a GDP of 42.9% (World Bank, 2009). Thus, some of the most developed countries include the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Germany (World Bank, 2009).
World Bank (2009) defines the countries in transition as the ones, whose economies and standard of living change to a market economy from the economy with central planning. To be more precise, transition includes the economy liberalization, whereby commodity prices are set by the prevailing market forces but not by a central organization (World Bank, 2009). In addition, the transition process in many different countries always comes hand in hand with the changes of old institutions, the creation of new ones, and so on. For a country to be ranked among the transitioning nations, it must show certain indicators to prove its state. Therefore, transitioning indicators include macroeconomic stabilization, liberalization, legal and institutional reforms, and privatization and restructuring. For example, such countries as Albania, Romania, Vietnam, Ukraine, and China belong to transitioning nations (World Bank, 2009).
Lastly, developing countries are those countries, whose Human Development Index is relatively low as compared to other states. To be more precise, developing countries are defined those that have not registered a certain degree of industrialization relative to their population (United Nations, 2007). Similarly, developing countries are characterized by the low standards of living. This category of countries includes Kenya, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Nigeria (United Nations, 2007).
According to the report presented by World Bank and International Monetary Fund (2014), high-income countries often face different problems related to growth policies. Some of those problems include slow growth, unemployment crisis, and the inequality in terms of distribution of resources. Slow growth is commonly experienced because of the economy hitting its peak. To be more precise, when high-income countries are compared with transitioning countries or developing countries, the growth rate in developed countries is very low. Second is the issue of unemployment. However, policy makers constantly work to ensure that labor market policies are more inclusive and growth-friendly. To do so, they must ensure that they strike a balance between the need to shield employees from adverse income shocks and provide the necessary flexibility to employers (World Bank & International Monetary Fund, 2014). Lastly, policymakers have singled out the main driver of inequality - the great difference in wages and salaries between the highly skilled and lowly skilled employees (World Bank & International Monetary Fund, 2014). As a result, to reduce this gap, policymakers opt for more career development and seminars to be offered to employees so that they could improve their skills because it is believed that the big difference between skilled and unskilled workers is caused by the continuous change in technology.
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International Labor rights
The USA has registered numerous imports on products that they previously produced (Garber, 1993). The reason behind this is the enactment of a free trade agreement between the USA and other countries. Because of these free trade agreements, many US citizens have seen their jobs vanish as the US companies choose to transfer production to other countries, taking the advantage of the poverty that reigns in those countries. Second, the absence of strict bodies governing corporate behavior prompts the US companies to transfer their production facilities to these countries. Consequently, it is beyond reasonable doubt that workers are exploited by the manufacturing companies of the US imports due to lack of strong bodies in their country of residence to fight for their rights. This is seconded by the high number of the US companies opening up manufacturing plants outside the USA as a strategy of avoiding the harsh and strict rules that govern the companies’ operation and protection of employee’s rights at home. For instance, after the United States’ enactment of free trade with Mexico was passed, as proposed by the former president of the USA George W Bush, many US companies transferred their production to Mexico to enjoy the low salary demands from poor Mexican workers and due to the absence of effective regulations on their corporate behavior (Garber, 1993). Nevertheless, in my opinion, I believe that the workers are better off in this kind of employment. The reason behind my argument is that they would be unemployed if such chances did not emerge at all. On the other hand, the US workers are to lose because the rate of employment increases in other countries due to the massive relocation of companies, while employment in the USA declines to leave many Americans unemployed.
In addition, the numerous relocations of the US producing companies and the increased percentage of imports to the USA have charged up a conflict on whether the US consumers should boycott or increase the purchase of these imported goods. In my opinion, the workers should boycott the consumption of those imported products to attract the attention of companies, the government, and the bodies that protect worker rights. Boycotting provides a promising percentage of success because the companies may choose to resume production in their home country because its residents serve as their major market, hence the additional job opportunities to the workers who are also the consumers. However, the companies may also choose to capitalize selling their products on other markets such as Japan or the Middle East, which will make boycotting less effective. On the other hand, if the workers choose to increase the purchase of the imported products, it will serve as an encouragement to other companies that will follow suit and relocate to the countries where manufacturing and production expenses are low to maximize on the profit margin. As a result, the unemployment rate will continue expanding. Therefore, it is evident beyond reasonable doubt that the workers residing in the USA have the highest chance of retaining their employment opportunities by boycotting the purchase of imported products that were previously manufactured in the USA.
Employment standards are the minimum standards required by law for every employer or employee to observe to create the conducive and favorable working conditions for both parties without having one dominate over the other (Garber, 1993). Thus, the controversy on whether work rules should be set in other countries or allow the political system in that particular country preside over those rules is challenging because employees, if asked, would prefer that among those parties, the one that possesses their interests at heart, should set those standards. However, in this case, the standards should be set by the political system of the country that the workers reside in to avoid employee exploitation. Secondly, this will help the political system keep an eye on the operations of the newly relocated company. Thirdly, this will make it easier for employees to seek justice or forward their claims to the political systems in their countries as compared to boards in other countries, where the rules have been created and passed.
Equally, the question of who should set the work rules, how should they be set, and how they should be enforced is critical to the working environment for both the employer and employee. However, to come up with an agreement on the rules that should be used in an organization, the people involved in setting them should be the management, the government, and the individuals representing the employees (Cihon & Castagnera, 2008). The role of the government in such a situation is to ensure that the organization follows all the laid down government policies and that the organization does not exploit consumers in the country it governs. Additionally, this role lies in making sure that the government represents and witnesses the laws agreed on the working conditions of the company and its employees. At the same time, the employee representatives must make sure that no law that is meant to exploit them is passed. Similarly, they are there to ensure that they voice out what the other employees think should be put in place, what they think should be removed, and what should be improved.
Upon agreement, there is enforcing the laws, whereby they must be publicized and every person is required to abide by those rules. To guarantee that these rules are respected and followed, a disciplinary committee or department should be created. The main role of this department is to punish those who go against the set rules accordingly. Similarly, employees should work hand in hand to make certain that their colleagues adhere to the rules and regulations that govern them because it is the ethically correct thing to do.
In conclusion, employee and employer rules should be combined and agreed upon to avoid the exploitation of both parties. Equally, the government and other bodies that fight for the rights of consumers should also be included as a way of shielding consumer exploitation. As a result, this will improve working environment that will equally lead to increased productivity. On the other hand, nations should unify their resources to ensure that the standards of living in all countries across the globe are affordable and similar. For instance, developed countries should set aside the funds meant to help developing countries through such projects as the exchange program and scholarships. By doing so, education and technology will pass to developing countries, thus improving their current state.