Patrick Leblond and Christine Straehle
Markets are seen internationally, as both, a vehicle for the realization of justice goals, as well as a hurdle for such goals. For instance, many theorists have long argued that the best way to realize redistributive justice in developed societies is by liberalizing trade and the movement of peoples, so that labour demand and labour supply can coalesce. Similarly, many have argued that the best way to assure the realization of socio-economic redistribution is through economic growth, and that such growth is better fostered through market liberalization, rather than state interventions. Simultaneously, however, theorists and activists have countered that liberalization is only to the benefit of a specific, higher echelon of societies, and that those most in need of redistributive justice measures may lose out. The worry is that if labour markets are open to migrants, labour wages will decline and those on the lower income end will suffer, for example. Rather than opening markets to international actors, national governments should regulate immigration and prevent manufacturing industries to relocate to developing countries with lower labour costs. The case of markets in labour, trade and finance raises a number of important questions in the fields of philosophy, public policy and economics. To begin with, any market arrangement raises the purported spectre of injustice towards several members of communities: the poor, unskilled, or unemployed. Many critics have argued that while markets may help domestic economies to grow, the benefits of such growth doesn’t permeate to those most in need of assistance. This workshop will investigate if this analysis indeed captures the real moral controversy of liberalized markets in the local and international context, or whether there are alternative ways of assessing the effects of markets, both open and closed. One such concern is whether or not markets, when analysed from a perspective of local and global justice, can in fact be viewed to serve the same function in both settings. For instance, we may find that while open markets promote the goals of global justice, only closed markets may bring about social justice locally. Assessing markets from the two different perspectives of global and local, then, may yield very different and possible contradicting justice (and ultimately public policy) prescriptions. Analysing markets from a global and local justice perspective can help clarify the moral problems that they may bring with respect to their effects on local populations, national regulatory possibilities and their impact on redistribution globally. This research project aims to yield fruitful cross-disciplinary insights into this important and timely topic.