At what cost?

I just read an article that said Sec. of State Hillary Clinton (that still sounds strange to me) is more interested in the global economy than human rights. This troubles me. At what cost is she willing to overlook basic human rights in order to concentrate on the economy. I agree that the global economy is in a crisis right now, but we shouldn’t back down on the US commitment to human rights.

Is she going to overlook if countries violate human rights in order to improve their economies? I hope not. I hope she won’t pursue global economic concerns at the expense of human rights. They are both important. It would be worse if she were to condone countries who abuse human rights to boost their economies. She needs to be vigilant against this. She needs to take a stand to say that the US won’t overlook human rights violations in the sake of economic progress.

Human rights aren’t just important for good times, but also for the tough times we’re in now. Companies and countries may be tempted to use sweat shops and child labor and other unfair labor practices to regain their competitive advantage. This cannot be allowed. However, this needs to be balanced so workers are willing to compromise with employers in danger of going bankrupt. For instance, employees should be willing to take a pay cut in order to keep their jobs. Afterall, which is worse $10/hour pay cut or no job because you held out for more money and the company went broke trying to pay you the higher wage?

Countries, companies, and employees each need to pay close attention to the big picture right now. We need a balance of basic human rights and reasonable workers’ rights in the light of economic viability for the company and countries. I also understand that there are many human rights issues which are separate from economic and workers rights issues. Still, we can’t just say anything goes as long as it benefits the economy. Nor can we say workers’ rights at any cost to the employers including bankruptcy. If the world is to pull up out of this recession and prevent a depression, a balance needs to be achieved. I hope Mrs. Clinton understands this. However, from her comments in regards to China, she seems off to an unsure start in achieving this balance.


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