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

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
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/17449626.2013.818455
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,214
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

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.

View all 29 references / Add more references

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.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Postcolonialism and Global Justice.Margaret Kohn - 2013 - Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):187 - 200.
Introduction.Monique Deveaux & Kathryn Walker - 2013 - Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):111 - 114.
Global Care Ethics: Beyond Distribution, Beyond Justice.Fiona Robinson - 2013 - Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):131 - 143.
Non-Domination's Role in the Theorizing of Global Justice.Mira Bachvarova - 2013 - Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):173 - 185.
We Fight for Roses Too: Time-Use and Global Gender Justice.Alison M. Jaggar - 2013 - Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):115 - 129.
Place-Related Attachments and Global Distributive Justice.Margaret Moore - 2013 - Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):215 - 226.
Idealized Non-Ideal Justice Theory in Law of Peoples.Hye-Ryoung Kang - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 25:37-44.
A Pragmatic Analysis of Idealizations in Physics.William F. Barr - 1974 - Philosophy of Science 41 (1):48-64.
Marx and Cohen on Exploitation and the Labor Theory of Value.Nancy Holmstrom - 1983 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):287 – 307.


Added to PP index

Total views
58 ( #196,320 of 2,507,555 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #170,014 of 2,507,555 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes