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International Law Research; Vol. 1, No. 1; 2012 ISSN 1927-5234 E-ISSN 1927-5242 Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education

Globalization, Transnational Corporations and Human Rights – A New Paradigm
Jennifer Westaway1

School of Business Law and Taxation, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

Correspondence: Jennifer Westaway, School of Business Law and Taxation, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, 6957, Western Australia. Tel: 61-892-666-3945. E-mail: Received: February 13, 2012 doi:10.5539/ilr.v1n1p63 Abstract The growth in power and influence of the transnational corporation under the forces of globalization has been touted as being one of the most significant developments
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Introduction The relationship between the processes of globalization and human rights has been the focus of much debate, both within academia and the global human rights community. Much of this debate has focused on the power and influence of transnational corporations. It is clear that the rise in the power and influence of transnational corporations both domestically and internationally, can be attributed to the processes of economic globalization. National economies have over recent years been reducing the political and financial barriers which have limited their ability to engage in trade activities and attract foreign investment. Multinational corporations have been aggressive in exploiting these new opportunities, and have, in doing so, re-written the rules of economic engagement and have challenged the established principles of juridical boundaries and state sovereignty. Accordingly, they are now able to exert considerable influence not only on the markets within which they operate, but also on foreign affairs policy and international relations. Whilst it cannot be denied that the power and influence of transnational corporations provide employment, income and, and in some instances, country wealth, this increase in power and influence has what has been described as a ‘darker side’ (Eden & Lenway, 2001; Stiglitz, 2002) – economic devastation, and the ability to operate outside the human rights obligations assumed by each state pursuant to their status

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