The possibility of exchange

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 12 (4):361-374 (2013)


I first characterize a moral mistake in coercion. The principle of independence with which I criticize coercion seems also to condemn exchange. I propose an account of exchange from which it follows that exchange upholds independence after all. In support of that account I argue that, of the accounts of exchange that occur to me, only this one has the consequence that, on general assumptions, a person can take part in exchange while acting, intending, and believing with sufficient reason. I argue that the hiring of very poor people by very rich people for labor from which the rich draw a substantial surplus does not give rise to an exchange of this kind. These instances of the wage labor relation resemble coercion insofar as they violate independence.

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References found in this work

Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.
The Possibility of Altruism.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Oxford Clarendon Press.
The Possibility of Altruism.John Benson - 1972 - Philosophical Quarterly 22 (86):82-83.

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Citations of this work

Action and Production.Stephen White - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 22 (2):271-294.
What Makes Threats Wrong?Niko Kolodny - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (2):87-118.

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