The Benchmark of Equality

Aaron James

in Fairness in Practice

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199846153
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933389 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Political Philosophy

The Benchmark of Equality

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This chapter defends equality in the “gains of trade” as an appropriate benchmark for assessing trade practice: trading countries are to gain equally from trade, adjusting for background endowments, unless there are special reasons that inequality of gain is justified. This is appropriate because trading countries are moral equals, because they have relevantly similar interests in greater rather than lesser shares of the benefits of trade, and because they lack special entitlements to any particular level of gain, beyond what is fair. The chapter challenges objections from appeals to special contribution, special property entitlements, and to individualistic rather than internationalist conceptions of trade practice.

Keywords: fair division; equality; symmetry of interests; entitlements; contribution; endowment adjustment; integration; exclusion; individualism

Chapter.  14524 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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