“How to Think Historically About the Problem of Modern Slavery”

11 04 2023

That’s the title of a talk I’ll be giving at the University of York Management School on Tuesday 18 April 2023. Here is an abstract of the paper:

The vexed issue of modern slavery is again in the headlines. Policymakers in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and elsewhere are currently considering how to deal with international supply chains that involve modern slavery and similar forms of unfree labour. In the UK, growing awareness of the limits of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 is prompting consideration of new measures to tackle this issue. This paper discusses the values of historical approaches in thinking about the problem of modern slavery. It does so by exploring how British people in the twentieth century discussed the perennial problem of goods made with unfree labour in international supply chains. By learning how this policy issue was discussed in the past, we can illuminate present-day policy dilemmas. 

Short bio: Andrew Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management at the University of Birmingham.  He has published his business-historical research in a range of journals that include Business History, Business History Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, and the Journal of Management Studies. He is currently co-editing a Special Issue of Journal of Management Studies that will provide historical perspectives on deglobalization.



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