Exploitation

Benjamin Ferguson, Hillel Steiner

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Exploitation is commonly understood as taking unfair advantage. This article discusses the various prominent accounts that have been offered of how an exchange, despite being Pareto improving and consensual, can nevertheless count as unfair or unjust and, hence, as presumptively impermissible. Does the wrongness of an exploitative transaction consist in its compounding a prior distributive injustice, or in its deliberately profiting from someone’s vulnerability, or in its commodification of that which should not be commodified? How should responsibility for exploitation be assigned, and can this avoid generating moral hazard? The accounts of exploitation analysed here are classified along two dimensions-historical vs. ahistorical and intentional vs. non-intentional-in their conceptions of unfairness, and the possibility of a hybrid account is explored.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice
EditorsSerena Olsaretti
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages533-555
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780191756733
ISBN (Print)9780199645121
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • Distributive justice
  • Exploitation
  • Fairness
  • Historical injustice
  • Intention
  • Moral hazard
  • Responsibility
  • Taking advantage
  • Vulnerability

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