Exploitation and disadvantage

B. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


According to some accounts of exploitation, most notably Ruth Sample's (2003) degradation-based account and Robert Goodin's (1987) vulnerability-based account, exploitation occurs when an advantaged party fails to constrain their advantage in light of another's disadvantage, regardless of the cause of this disadvantage. Because the duty of constraint in these accounts does not depend on the cause of the disadvantage, the advantaged's duty of constraint is what I call a 'come-what-may' duty. I show that come-what-may duties create moral hazards that can themselves be exploited by the disadvantaged parties. In such cases these accounts of exploitation are either self-frustrating or over-demanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-509
Number of pages25
JournalEconomics and Philosophy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Disadvantage
  • Exploitation
  • Moral Hazard
  • Responsibility


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