This bookdevelops a liberal theory of justice in exchange. It identifies the conditions that market exchanges need to fulfill to be just. It also addresses head-on a consequentialist challenge to existing theories of exchange, namely that, in light of new harms faced at the global level, we need to consider the combined consequences of millions of market exchanges to reach a final judgment about whether some individual exchange is just.
The author argues that, even if we accept this challenge, the effect of it is minimal. For different reasons, normatively problematic collective market outcomes like externalities, monopolies, violations of the Lockean proviso, inequality, and commodification do not pose particular problems to the justice of market exchanges. He outlines the various conditions a market exchange needs to fulfill to be considered just from a liberal background and in light of the new harms. Ultimately, he shows, it is not the market which is to blame; if we want to tackle issues like global warming or global economic injustice, we should not blindly follow the intuition that we best restrain and regulate markets.
Commutative Justice is unique in its focus on justice in exchange rather than on end-state distributive justice, and the way in which it addresses the new harms we are facing today. It will be of interest to researchers and advanced students in philosophy, politics, and economics who are working on questions of economic justice.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Part I. Foundations of Commutative Justice
Chapter 2. Exchanges, Market Exchanges, and Their Function
Chapter 3. The Domain of Commutative Justice
Part II. Consequential Commutative Justice
Chapter 4. Externalities
Chapter 5. Monopolies
Chapter 6. Lockean Provisos
Chapter 7. Inequality
Chapter 8. Commodification
Chapter 9. Conclusion & Policy Implications
Political philosophers and applied ethicists often think in terms of ideal theory. In short, they ask what institutions, policies, or practices would work best if people had perfect motivations. While such work might help us imagine what utopia would look like, it offers little practical guidance.
Political Philosophy for the Real World offers a home for original scholarly research that confronts the very problems ideal theory imagines away, such as corruption, incentives, incompetence, rent-seeking, strategic free-riding and non-compliance, and political manipulation. The monographs and edited collections in this series integrate normative philosophy with the best empirical work in political science, economics, sociology, and psychology. By taking the incentives our institutions create and the motivations of individuals seriously, these books advocate for workable policy solutions that incorporate insights from the social sciences.