All parties involved in researching, developing, manufacturing, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines need guidance on their ethical obligations. We focus on pharmaceutical companies' obligations because their capacities to research, develop, manufacture, and distribute vaccines make them uniquely placed for stemming the pandemic. We argue that an ethical approach to COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution should satisfy four uncontroversial principles: optimising vaccine production, including development, testing, and manufacturing; fair distribution; sustainability; and accountability. All parties' obligations should be coordinated and mutually consistent. For (...) instance, companies should not be obligated to provide host countries with additional booster shots at the expense of fulfilling bilateral contracts with countries in which there are surges. Finally, any satisfactory approach should include mechanisms for assurance that all parties are honouring their obligations. This assurance enables countries, pharmaceutical companies, global organisations, and others to verify compliance with the chosen approach and protect ethically compliant stakeholders from being unfairly exploited by unethical behaviour of others. (shrink)
In response to commentators, we argue that whether waiving patent rights will meaningfully improve access to COVID-19 vaccines for low income and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly in the short term, is an empirical matter. We also reject preferentially allocating vaccines to countries that hosted trials because doing so unethically favours those with research infrastructure, rather than those facing the worst burdens from COVID-19.
Do we have moral duties to people in distant parts of the world? If so, how demanding are these duties? And how can they be reconciled with our obligations to fellow citizens? -/- Every year, millions of people die from poverty-related causes while countless others are forced to flee their homes to escape from war and oppression. At the same time, many of us live comfortably in safe and prosperous democracies. Yet our lives are bound up with those of the (...) poor and dispossessed in multiple ways: our clothes are manufactured in Asian sweatshops; the oil that fuels our cars is purchased from African and Middle Eastern dictators; and our consumer lifestyles generate environmental changes that threaten Bangladeshi peasants with drought and famine. These facts force us to re-evaluate our conduct and to ask whether we must do more for those who have less. -/- Helping students to grapple with big questions surrounding justice, human rights, and equality, this comprehensive yet accessible textbook features chapters on a variety of pressing issues such as Immigration, International Trade, War, and Climate Change. Suitable for undergraduate and graduate students alike, the book also serves as a philosophical primer for politicians, activists, and anyone else who cares about justice. (shrink)
This chapter considers how some international ethical matters might be approached differently in the English-speaking literature if values salient in sub-Saharan Africa were taken seriously. Specifically, after pointing out how indigenous values in this part of the world tend to prescribe relating communally, this chapter articulates a moral-philosophical interpretation of communal relationship and brings out what such an ethic entails for certain aspects of globalization, political power, foreign relations, and criminal justice. The chapter suggests that the implications of a communal (...) ethic are prima facie plausible and often prescribe changes to the status quo. Lacking the space to systematically defend communion as a fundamental value, the chapter nonetheless urges normative theorists of international politics not to neglect it, and it makes realistic recommendations for the African Union, trade organizations, diplomats, and other agents in a position to influence global policy. (Reprints some parts of 'Harmonizing Global Ethics in the Future' [Journal of Global Ethics, 2014], but with a strict focus on Africa's, excluding China's, ethical contributions to global matters.). (shrink)
Fair Trade is under fire. Some critics argue, for instance, that there is no obligation to purchase Fair Trade certified products and that doing so may even be counter-productive. Others worry that well-justified conceptions of what makes trade fair can conflict. Yet others suggest that the common arguments for Fair Trade cannot justify purchasing Fair Trade certified goods, in particular. This paper starts by sketching one common argument for Fair Trade and defends it against this last line of criticism. In (...) particular, it argues that we should purchase Fair Trade certified goods because doing so benefits the poor even though there are other ways to alleviate poverty. It then considers how other common arguments for Fair Trade fare in light of similar criticism and concludes that they may well succeed. (shrink)
Alternative Food Networks (AFNs), which include local food and Fair Trade, work to mitigate some of the many shortcomings of mainstream food systems. If AFNs have the potential to make the world’s food systems more just and sustainable (and otherwise virtuous) then we may have good reasons to scale them up. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to increase the market share of AFNs while preserving their current forms. Among other reasons, this is because there are limits to both the (...) productive capacities of small owner-operated farms and to the distribution capacities of Farmers Markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). These limits tell in favor of AFN partnerships with larger producers and distributors. But some advocates of AFNs have worried that these partnerships would sacrifice too much. (shrink)
In his important recent book, Aaron James has defended a principle ? Collective Due Care ? for determining when a form of economic integration is morally objectionable because it causes unjustified harm (including unemployment, wage suppression and diminished working conditions). This essay argues that Collective Due Care would yield implausible judgements about trade practices and would be too indeterminate to play the practical role for which it is intended.
Many approaches to addressing labour injustices—shortfalls from minimally decent wages and working conditions— focus on how governments should orient themselves toward other states in which such phenomena take place, or to the firms that are involved with such practices. But of course the question of how to regard such labour practices must also be faced by individuals, and individual consumers of the goods that are produced through these practices in particular. Consumers have become increasingly aware of their connections to complex (...) global production processes that often involve such injustice. For example, activist campaigns have exposed wrongful harm in factories producing clothes, shoes and mobile phones and farms producing coffee, tea and cocoa. These campaigns have promoted the message to ordinary people that by becoming connected to unjust labour practices through their purchasing behaviour, they acquire special additional moral responsibilities to contribute to reforming such practices, or to address the hardships suffered by the victims of the wrongdoing that result from them. The moral significance of the responsibilities of individual consumers has not, however, received much analytical scrutiny. Why should we believe that there are such responsibilities? And if there are such responsibilities, what are their grounds? How stringent are the responsibilities triggered by such connections? Finally, what are the implications of such responsibilities—the courses of action that they prescribe or proscribe? The activists who assert special ethical responsibilities for consumers have promoted many particular courses of action, but have seldom articulated the grounds of these responsibilities or explained why they should be taken to be stringent. And moral and political theorists have not devoted much focussed attention to this issue. For the consumer who is concerned to act in a morally permissible way, this presents a troubling practical challenge regarding the goods they may (or may not) purchase, and the moral relevance of their consumption choices more generally. While we cannot address all of these pressing questions in this chapter, we try to make some headway with them by discussing two general approaches to the question of how individuals should conceive of their responsibilities with respect to such practices, taking as our starting point the recent work of the late Iris Marion Young—the most sustained treatment of this topic by a prominent political theorist. In a series of influential articles and a posthumously published book, Young articulated an approach to conceiving of individual responsibilities to address labour injustices—the social connection model—at home and abroad. She also argued that an alternative model—the liability model—which she claimed had dominated discourse on this topic, suffered from very serious flaws. In a critical vein, we will argue that Young’s arguments against the liability model are not convincing, and that the alternative she proposes is itself vulnerable to some damaging objections. We also find, however, that the liability model would need to be extended in various ways to provide an adequate account of individual responsibility to address shortfalls from minimally decent wages and working conditions, and we begin the task of sketching an extended framework. (shrink)
The study attempted to analyze the reasons for joining SHG’s, socioeconomic condition of women self-help group members before and after joining the SHGs and their satisfaction level. For the analysis, primary data collected from 120 women SHG members of north district, Tripura. The chisquare test is used as statistical tools for analyzing the data and testing the hypothesis. The hypothetical analysis shows that there is no significant relationship between the age, profession, income level and level of satisfaction. But educational qualification (...) and the satisfaction level of women has a significant relationship. Finally the study concludes that maximum women group members are satisfied with the activities of SHGs and they got benefitafter joining the SHGs. (shrink)
Many advocate practices of ‘local food’ or ‘locavorism’ as a partial solution to the injustices and unsustainability of contemporary food systems. I think that there is much to be said in favor of local food movements, but these virtues are insufficient to immunize locavorism from criticism. In particular, three duties of international ethics—beneficence, repair and fairness—may provide reasons for constraining the developed world’s permissible pursuit of local food. A complete account of why (and how) the fulfillment of these duties constrains (...) locavorism will require extensive empirical evidence about the relationship between agricultural demand-led industrialization, international trade (rules), and local food practices. In this paper I can only gesture at some of this evidence and, for that reason, my policy prescriptions are merely provisional. Instead, the upshot of this paper is that advocates of locavorism ought to be attentive to the empirical-dependence of the moral permissibility of their projects. As local food ‘scales up’—and comes to be embraced as a goal of political communities—these concerns should receive even greater attention. (shrink)
ABSTRACT:This article considers the economic case for so-called sweatshop wages and working conditions. My goal is not to defend or reject the economic case for sweatshops. Instead, proceeding from a broadly pluralist understanding of value, I make and defend a number of claims concerning the ethical relevance of economic analysis for values that different agents utilize to evaluate sweatshops. My arguments give special attention to a series of recent articles by Benjamin Powell and Matt Zwolinski, which represent the latest and (...) best defense of the economic case for sweatshops. In the process, I challenge Zwolinski’s “non-worseness claim” (NWC), and the idea that opposition to sweatshop wages and working conditions fails to respect that the autonomy of would-be sweatshop workers. Ultimately, I conclude that even if the economic case for sweatshops rests on a solid empirical foundation, agents possess good reason to advocate for better wages and working conditions for sweatshop workers, and to prefer less exploitative or coercive relationships. Sweatshop labor undermines a compelling vision of free markets, according to both Kantian and republican conceptions of freedom, and the relationships formed by those who participate in such markets. (shrink)
In recent years, researchers have observed the process of mainstreaming Fair Trade and the emergence of alternative sustainability standards in the coffee industry. The underlying market dynamics that have contributed to these developments are, however, under-researched. Insight into these dynamics is important to understand how markets can develop to favor sustainability. This study examines the major developments in the market for certified coffee in the Netherlands. It finds that, in the creation of a market for sustainable coffee, decisions that significantly (...) influence market creation are made in the lead companies (retailers and coffee roasters). These decisions are made possible by the availability of multiple systems of sustainability standards and by the existence of a small segment of loyal Fair Trade customers that ensured that sustainability remained an issue on the coffee market in the years before the market creation took-off. Fair Trade did not become the new rule in this process, but it became the benchmark against which companies could compare themselves and the basis upon which they built in adopting or developing new standards that would be more feasible in their business models. (shrink)
The just price tradition has roots in Ancient philosophy but is most straightforwardly associated with a line of medieval philosophers and theologians, such as John Duns Scotus (see Duns Scotus), St. Thomas Aquinas (see Aquinas, Saint Thomas) and others. What generally characterizes the tradition is an interest in matters of ethics and justice concerning the pricing of goods and services on commercial markets. Medieval philosophers were often critical of commerce in general – and commerce with money in particular (see Usury) (...) – viewing it as an (at best) unfortunate practical necessity dominated by (at least strong tendencies towards) the sins of greed and deceit. The just price tradition can be seen as a part of this moral critique of commerce and profiteering in general (see Profit Motive). At the same time, however, perhaps it can also be seen as staking out a way for commercial agents to ethically redeem themselves. (shrink)
An overview and assessment of the current state of research on individual consumption of Fair Trade (FT) products is given on the basis of 51 journal publications. Arranging this field of ethical consumption research according to key research objectives, theoretical approaches, methods, and study population, the review suggests that most studies apply social psychological approaches focusing mainly on consumer attitudes. Fewer studies draw on economic approaches focusing on consumers’ willingness to pay ethical premia for FT products or sociological approaches relying (...) on the concept of consumer identity. Experimental, qualitative and conventional survey methods are used approximately equally often. Almost all studies draw on convenience or purposive samples and most studies are conducted in the USA or the United Kingdom. Several problems in current research are identified: amongst others, studies’ rather narrow theoretical focus, potential hypothetical and social desirability bias of conventional survey data, and a lack of generalizability of empirical findings. In turn, we suggest that research would benefit from both a multiple-motives and a multiple-methods perspective. Considering competing theories can help to single out key behavioral determinants of individual FT consumption. The combination of different methods such as conventional surveys and field experiments contributes to uncovering respondents’ truthful answers and improves generalizability of results. Scholars in the field of ethical consumption research should use experiments to detect causal relations proposed by theories and conduct cross-country surveys to gather insights as to how differences in market structures, cultural traits, and other path dependencies affect patterns of individual FT consumption. (shrink)
The Fairtrade movement is a group of businesses claiming to trade ethically. The claims are evaluated, under a range of criteria derived from the Utilitarian ethic. Firstly, if aid or charity money is diverted from the very poorest people to the quite poor, or the rich, there is an increase in death and destitution. It is shown that little of the extra paid by consumers for Fairtrade reaches farmers, sometimes none. It cannot be shown that it has a positive impact (...) on Fairtrade farmers in general, but evidence suggesting it harms others is presented. Many of the weaknesses are due to an attempt to impose political views on farmers and others. Secondly, the unfair trading criteria require that sellers do not lie about their product, nor withhold information that might alter the decisions of a substantial proportion of buyers. It is argued that the system only can exist because of the failure of the Fairtrade industry to give the facts on what happens to the money and what it can be proved it achieves. This unfair trading compromises the reputation of charities in general. Much of the trading may constitute the criminal offence of Unfair Trading in the EU. (shrink)
This study investigates the large French fair trade (FT) market and the importance of FT coffee within it, in an attempt to identify some general features of FT consumers. On the basis of 7,587 transactions, the authors abo determine the impact of FT characteristics on customer behavior. The main result is somewhat surprising: FT coffee purchases seem to involve a temporary commitment as FT coffee consumers appear less loyal than traditional coffee consumers. The authors derive some business and academic implications.
Fair Trade companies have pulled off an astonishing tour de force. Despite their relatively small size and lack of resources, they have managed to achieve considerable commercial success and, in so doing, have put the fair trade issue firmly onto industry agendas. We analyse the critical role played by social capital in this success and demonstrate the importance of values as an exploitable competitive asset. Our research raises some uncomfortable questions about whether fair trade has 'sold out' to the mainstream (...) and whether these companies have any independent future or whether their ultimate success lies in the impact they have had on day-to-day trading behaviour. (shrink)
This paper provides an analysis of the fair trade network in the North through a comparative assessment of two distinctly different fair trade certified roasters: Planet Bean, a worker-owned co-operative in Guelph, Ontario; and Starbucks Coffee Company, the world's largest specialty roaster. The two organizations are assessed on the basis of their distinct visions of the fair trade mission and their understandings of "consumer sovereignty". It is concluded that the objectives of Planet Bean are more compatible with the moral mission (...) of fair trade, even while the network has become increasingly dependent on the market-reach of corporations like Starbucks, raising difficult prospects for the future of fair trade. (shrink)
This article analyses the Fair Trade sector as a “mixed-form market,” i.e., a market in which different types of players (in this case, nonprofit, co-operative and for-profit organizations) coexist and compete. The purposes of this article are (1) to understand the factors that have led Fair Trade to become a mixed-form market and (2) to propose some trails to understand the market dynamics that result from the interactions between the different types of players. We start by defining briefly Fair Trade, (...) its different dimensions (including the “fair” quality of the products) and its organizational landscape, focusing on the distinction between the pioneer “Alternative Trading Organizations” and the second-mover companies. Then, we recall the theoretical emergence factors for each type of organization (nonprofit, co-operative and for-profit) and apply these emergence factors to the context of Fair Trade. This analysis allows us to capture the specificities of each type of operator with regard to Fair Trade and, thus, to have a better understanding of the dynamics in the sector. Such dynamics includes competition, but also conflict and partnership. Our analysis includes elements on ethical imitation, consumers’ behaviors, effects on welfare and the role of the government. (shrink)
After nearly 20 years of work by activists, fair trade, a movement establishing alternative trading organizations to ensure minimal returns, safe working conditions, and environmentally sustainable production, is now gaining steam, with increasing awareness and availability across a variety of products. However, this article addresses several major remaining challenges: (a) a lack of agreement about what fair trade really means and how it should be certified; (b) uneven awareness and availability across different areas, with marked differences between some parts of (...) Europe and North America that reflect more fundamental debates about distribution; (c) larger questions about the extent of the potential contribution of fair trade to development under the current system, including limitations on the number and types of workers affected and the fair trade focus on commodity goods. (shrink)
Businesses that maintain ethical standards have an advantage in the marketplace based on the increasing interest of consumers in products that have a social and ethical component. Fair trade organisations that adopt environmental, social and ethical principles in trading are in a good position to make the most of this growing interest in the market. However, it is unclear whether fair trade organisations are taking full advantage of emerging market opportunities for ethically traded products. This research explores this issue by (...) describing the business strategies of three fair trade organisations that import and sell craft goods into Western countries and evaluates them in the context of this growing market. The research findings indicate that in order to remain in business, fair trade craft organisations have had to adopt better business practices in recent years, improving quality, customer service and product offerings to customers. However, growth appears to be limited, as distribution remains focused on a small, niche market. This paper explores the distribution strategies of two fair trade commodity organisations that are successfully reaching a wider customer base, demonstrating that fair trade products have a unique selling advantage in the mainstream marketplace. In conclusion, fair trade craft organisations are not exploiting this market opportunity to the degree they should and will need to explore wider distribution and alternative business strategies to expand their market share. (shrink)
Although Fair Trade has been in existence for more than 40 years, discussion in the business and business ethics literature of this unique trading and campaigning movement between Southern producers and Northern buyers and consumers has been limited. This paper seeks to redress this deficit by providing a description of the characteristics of Fair Trade, including definitional issues, market size and segmentation and the key organizations. It discusses Fair Trade from Southern producer and Northern trader and consumer perspectives and highlights (...) the key issues that currently face the Fair Trade movement. It then identifies an initial research agenda to be followed up in subsequent papers. (shrink)
The purpose of this document is to consider possible industrial policy measures that could be contemplated by the South African Government to provide support for the export competitiveness of the country’s processed fruit products. It follows an earlier analysis by Don Ross, which argued for the conclusion that the industry meets key criteria for economically justifiable industrial policy assistance. That is, it offers a premium product that can be amplified in value by brand strengthening, can be positioned more advantageously than (...) at present in international value chains, and would benefit from an environment made more competitive by liberalization of international trade practices and reduction in management of input prices (chiefly tin plate and sugar). In short: the main factors now limiting the competitiveness of the industry’s exports derive neither from its product characteristics nor from independent market dynamics, but from exogenous constraints that are in principle correctible by policy. (shrink)