Examines the impact of U.S. multinational corporations, foreign aid, and investment on human rights in Third World countries.
What impact do international economic inputs have on human rights in Third World nations? William Meyer explores the effects of direct investment by U.S. multinational corporations, economic and military aid, and MNC manufacturing plants. He examines the international political economy of human rights at both the national and the international levels. Case studies are combined with quantitative studies that use aggregate cross-national data, and theories that link MNCs to human rights are subjected to empirical testing.
As Meyer illustrates, at the national level, human rights violations are associated with U.S. MNCs in Chile, Honduras, India, Indonesia, and Mexico. MNCs have been especially guilty of violating labor rights, particularly through their reliance on sweatshops. MNCs have also been responsible for widespread pollution and environmental degradation. At a broader international level, increased investment by MNCs tends to go along with human rights improvements in the Third World as a whole. Meyer shows that there is a broad positive relationship between direct investment by MNCs and broader political rights and improved living standards. Aggregate data are also analyzed for human rights as compared to U.S. economic and military aid. Economic aid is found to be associated with improved civil-political rights and improved socioeconomic rights. Military aid, by contrast, is associated with declining levels of civil rights and with lower levels of social welfare. This book will serve as an important study for researchers, activists, and students of human rights.