The Rapoport Center proudly announces the publication of Power, Participation, and Private Regulatory Initiatives: Human Rights Under Supply Chain Capitalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). Edited by UT professors Karen Engle (Law) and Daniel Brinks (Government) along with former Rapoport Center postdoctoral fellows Julia Dehm (faculty, La Trobe Law School, Melbourne) and Kate Taylor (practicing attorney, Melbourne), the book is the culmination of years of productive exchange – including two Rapoport Center events – among academics and advocates around the world seeking to change the distribution of value within supply chains.
The book investigates private initiatives to regulate corporate human rights abuses, ranging from unsafe working conditions in garment manufacturing to the failure to consult indigenous communities on extractive projects. It connects key practitioners with scholars of indigeneity, labor, and human rights to evaluate promises and pitfalls of both multi-stakeholder initiatives and worker-driven social responsibility programs.
The collection analyzes these initiatives within the political economy of contemporary supply chain capitalism, focusing on the latter’s perpetuation of multiple power imbalances. City University of Hong Kong law professor Surya Deva, of the UN Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations, notes that the book “rightly stress[es] the need to dismantle the current system, which tends to legitimize these asymmetries experienced by workers and affected communities.”