The Level Playing Field

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 Level Playing Field

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This chapter argues that developing countries should in effect be excused from WTO intellectual property rules. It rejects welfarist and natural rights arguments for TRIPs rules, but poses a novel defense on grounds of competitive fairness. The chapter then rejoins the argument in light of an “instrumentalist” conception of when it is appropriate to level competitive disadvantages in competitive interactions. It is argued that even if freedom from intellectual property rules creates significant competitive advantages for developing countries and their firms, this is perfectly fair insofar as it is required for a fair trade practice overall.

Keywords: Intellectual property; TRIPS rules; natural rights; competitive fairness; level playing field

Chapter.  7235 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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