Justice and International Trade

Philosophy Compass 11 (10):570-579 (2016)


This article identifies the main issues of justice that arise in international trade and critically evaluates contemporary philosophical debates over how to understand them. I focus on three central questions of distributive justice, as applied to trade. What is it about trade that makes it a subject of justice? Which aspects of the international trading system should our principles of justice regulate? What do duties of justice or fairness in trade demand? I show how debates over these questions turn not only on empirical disagreements specific to trade but also on deeper and more general disputes in moral and political philosophy. I argue that trade is a domain in which diverse moral concerns complexly intersect and that a satisfying account of it must do justice to this complexity by itself exhibiting substantial pluralism.

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Helena De Bres
Wellesley College

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