Encyclopedia of Global Justice

2011 Edition
| Editors: Deen K. Chatterjee


  • Timothy A. Weidel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_755

In its most basic sense, labor is the activity(s) in which human beings engage (either physically or mentally) in order to produce material objects or services which satisfy their needs. In order to survive, humans must labor to produce things such as food and shelter. Human beings can either: (1) labor directly to produce whatever satisfies their needs (such as a farmer producing beans), (2) produce commodities that can be exchanged for what they need, or (3) enter into relations of employment, whereby they exchange their labor for a wage, which they in turn use to purchase objects to satisfy their needs. Given the central importance of labor to human life, the issue of labor has come to be seen in recent years as a key aspect in issues of global justice, especially given the workings of the now-globalized economy.

Throughout history, humans have viewed productive labor in a variety of ways. Looking back to Ancient Greek society, a great proportion of the physical labor was performed...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy A. Weidel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA