- The Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice
- Introduction: The Idea of Distributive Justice
- Rawls on Distributive Justice and the Difference Principle
- Dworkin and Luck Egalitarianism: A Comparison
- Equality Versus Priority
- Sufficiency and Needs-Based Approaches
- The Capability Approach
- Libertarianism, Left and Right
- Desert-Based Justice
- Retributive Justice
- The Good Society
- The Ethics of Care
- The Theory and Politics of Recognition
- Distributive Justice and Human Nature
- Political and Distributive Justice
- Consequentialism, Deontology, Contractualism, and Equality
- Ideal Theory
- Constructivism, Intuitionism, and Ecumenism
- Conceptual Analysis and Distributive Justice
- The Family
- Public Goods
- Cultural and Religious Minorities
- Justice Across Borders
- Climate Change
- Future Generations
Abstract and Keywords
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.
Benjamin Ferguson is Assistant Professor of Ethics at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, and was formerly a lecturer in Political Philosophy at Universität Bayreuth. His research focuses on ethical issues raised by fraud, exploitation, and colonialism.
Hillel Steiner is Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Manchester and a Fellow of the British Academy. He is the author of An Essay on Rights (Blackwell 1994) and co-author (with Matthew Kramer and Nigel Simmonds) of A Debate over Rights: Philosophical Enquiries (OUP 2000). His current research concerns the concept of ‘the just price’, and the application of libertarian principles to global and genetic inequalities.
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