Unions Should Beware of World Bank

By Coia, Arthur A. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 24, 1995 | Go to article overview

Unions Should Beware of World Bank


Coia, Arthur A., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other global financial organizations are as responsible as any institutions for the devastating poverty and deplorable working conditions that exist throughout most of the developing world.

In seeking ever-higher profits for their multinational corporate masters, these extraordinarily powerful but largely unaccountable organizations have systematically thrown countless individuals out of work, driven below-poverty wages down to slave-like levels, destroyed fledgling attempts at unionization and been a reliable source of misery.

Developing nations often must turn to these institutions to assist their efforts at economic growth. But before helping, the World Bank and IMF typically require countries to freeze or cut wages, privatize industries, scrap collective bargaining agreements and impose other anti-worker policies. They hold even democratically elected governments hostage to the demands of corporate extortionists.

Thus, it shocked much of the financial community when the World Bank's just-released "World Development Report 1995" acknowledged that trade unions have an important role to play in lifting wage standards and contributing to economic development.

"Free trade unions are a cornerstone of any effective system of industrial relations that seeks to balance the need for enterprises to remain competitive with the aspirations of workers for higher wages and better working conditions," the report states. Unions "can help raise workplace productivity and reduce workplace discrimination . . . (and contribute) significantly to their countries' political and social development."

But does the World Bank's admission that "collective bargaining is a good solution for setting wages and working conditions" mean it has turned over a new leaf? Will it now make enlightened labor policies a prerequisite for assistance to developing countries? A closer examination reveals that behind the new words is much of the same, sorry tune.

For example, the World Bank writes that minimum wages may be useful in industrial countries "but they are difficult to justify in low- and middle-income nations." So is a dollar-a-day-toy factory worker in Thailand less deserving of a liveable minimum wage than a $4.25-an-hour hamburger flipper in Tennessee?

The World Bank's supposed acceptance of the role of labor is undermined by the report's rejection of centralized bargaining, which not only strengthens the ability of unions to raise wages throughout industries but also enhances efficiency and industrial peace. In other words, unions are OK as long as their ability to do good is strangled by cutthroat competition.

Perhaps most tellingly, the bank condemns multilateral trade agreements that include enforceable guarantees of the rights of workers to organize and reductions in child labor. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Unions Should Beware of World Bank
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.