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Justifying slave labour: then and now

Justifying slave labour: then and now

Vandekerckhove, Wim ORCID: 0000-0002-0106-7915 (2010) Justifying slave labour: then and now. In: International Global Ethics Conference 2010, 30 Jun - 2 Jul 2010, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.

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Slave trade and slave labour on plantations was rampant during the 18th century. Although the abolitionist movement succeeded in making slavery illegal 1807, slavery like labour practices are now still common place.

Bristol was an important link in the slave labour chain of the 18th century, with John Pinney and Edward Colston. Today’s slave labour chain entangles many MNCs who have tentacle operations all over the world, including Bristol.

At the end of the 18th century, just as now, slave (like) labour is under public scrutiny and is questioned on a moral base. Businessmen then and now who were/are involved in slave labour attempt(ed) to justify these practices. These attempts were/are made of course through lobbying tactics but also through public speak.

Using ethical theories as a framework, this paper analyses and compares such public statements by employers trying to justify their slave labour practices.

Comparing current arguments to historically and economically more distant ones, allows an additional critical approach to current initiatives of corporate social responsibility. It also renders us insight into patterns of the use of ethical arguments around slavery like labour practices.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: [1] This paper was presented at the Third Biennial International Global Ethics Association Conference (IGEA) - "Global Ethics: 10 Years into the Millennium" held from 30 June to 2 July 2010 at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.
Uncontrolled Keywords: slavery, child labour, global ethics, business ethics, corporate social responsibility
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Work & Employment Research Unit (WERU)
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:11

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