1st Edition

Commutative Justice A Liberal Theory of Just Exchange

By Carl David Mildenberger Copyright 2020
    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book develops 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


    Carl David Mildenberger is International Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of St Andrews, UK and a PhD in Economics from Witten/Herdecke University, Germany. He is the author of Economics and Social Conflict (2013). His published work has appeared in journals such as Philosophical Studies, Inquiry, Journal of Applied Philosophy, and Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.