Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):159 - 172 (2013)

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Abstract
One of the most troubling features of international trade is that it often involves exchange between individuals facing dramatically different life circumstances, who therefore derive different levels of benefit from the exchange. Most obviously, wages are extremely low in underdeveloped countries. However, the principle underlying these wages is the same as the one the dictates wage levels in wealthy countries. It is, therefore, difficult to criticize the wages paid to ?pauper labor? without at the same time criticizing the way that capitalism functions as a whole. For those who would like to question aspects of globalization, without simply repeating the standard moralizing critique of capitalism, this poses particular difficulties. This paper offers some suggestions on how egalitarians can approach this issue. The central piece of conceptual apparatus introduced, in the service of this aim, is the distinction between a ?first-best?, a ?second-best?, and an ?nth best? set of normative principles. It is then suggested, first, that capitalism is acceptable to egalitarians only within a third-best framework, and second, that this low level of idealization imposes real constraints on how far one can go in criticizing trade practices at the global level
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DOI 10.1080/17449626.2013.818455
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References found in this work BETA

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
The Idea of Justice.Amartya Kumar Sen - 2009 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Supersession, Non-Ideal Theory, and Dominant Distributive Principles.Burke A. Hendrix - 2022 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 25 (3):395-410.

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