Global Development Institute Blog

By Development @ Manchester,

Two journal articles involving Manchester Rising Powers research have been included in a free online article collection featuring the most downloaded articles published in Routledge Social Sciences journals in 2014.

New Middle-Class Consumers in Rising Powers: Responsible Consumption and Private Standards

In this article, Alejandro Guarín and Peter Knorringa ask how new middle-class consumers in the Rising Powers will influence ethical consumption patterns and private standards on socially and environmentally responsible production. Rising incomes among the new middle classes have the potential to stimulate new demands for socially and environmentally responsible consumption. However, there is no reason to assume that these will result in the same kinds of consumption patterns and the same kinds of social and environmental standards that we have seen in the West. Read the full blog post here.

“Rising Powers” and Labour and Environmental Standards

In his introductory article to a special issue on “Rising Powers” and Labour and Environmental Standards, Khalid Nadvi outlines what makes the Rising Powers special and in what ways they affect global labour and environmental standards. Concerns about sweatshop labour, climate change and environmental pollution have prompted the adoption of labour and environmental standards in international trade over the past decades. This has been largely driven by governments, companies and civil society in Western countries. In contrast, some of the growth in Rising Powers like China occurred precisely because they started exporting cheap products, competing in the world market on low wages, and prioritising economic growth over social and environmental concerns. Does this mean that the Rising Powers will provoke a global ‘race to the bottom’ on labour and environmental standards? Or alternatively, as these countries become more prosperous, will domestic demands for better working conditions and environmental protection increase, and will this be reflected in a more active engagement by Rising Power states and firms in the global governance of labour and the environment? Read the full blog post here.

Both articles will be freely available on the publisher’s website until the 30th June 2015. The collection has the top three most downloaded articles that were published and downloaded in 2014 in each Routledge Social Sciences journal.