Social Dumping

Social Dumping in Europe

Description of Social dumping

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes social dumping in the following terms: [1] An expression to describe the superior competitiveness of another country arising from lower labour costs, less job protection or less regulation. The accusation has sometimes been made, especially in Paris and Brussels, against the UK, originally on the grounds of its opt-out from the Social Chapter, more recently (now that the opt-out has been discarded) on the grounds of its flexible labour market conditions. The implication that competitive labour costs and ease of dismissal are discreditable would have some force if, for example, these were a product of disregard of safety standards at work or if they resulted in unfair treatment of redundant workers. But when the advantage is a result of deregulation and low non-wage costs, in an essentially successful and high-employment economy, the charge of ‘social dumping’ seems often to betray little more than antipathy to the Anglo-American model of free markets.

In the wider context of competition from Asia, Latin America and EasternEurope, however, where low wages not infrequently coincide with abusive practices and environmental neglect, ‘social dumping’ raises fundamental, and not easily answered, questions about the merits of unregulated free trade.


Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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