Journal of Business Ethics 138 (1):1-16 (2016)
AbstractThe certification-based Fair Trade initiative has been steadily growing during the last two decades. While many scholars have analyzed its main characteristics and developments, only a few have assessed it against a concept of justice. And those exceptional cases have only focused on distributive justice, proving unable to grasp the important ethical elements that Fair Trade integrates in its project. In reaction to this, this article intends to critically examine what the Fair Trade movement proposes to be ‘fair’ by resorting to the thought of the French philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas. To accomplish this goal, a new understanding of his conception of justice is presented, one that seeks to overcome the limitations that the two most common interpretations in the literature suffer. The idea of Lévinas’ ‘dialectics of justice’ is used to discuss Fair Trade’s relation of alterity, its appropriation of the notion of ‘face’ and its commitment to and responsibility for marginalized producers and workers. This analysis shows that Fair Trade operates with what could be described as a fetishized understanding of Levinasian ethics that justifies a deeply unjust praxis.
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References found in this work
Spheres of Justice: A Defence of Pluralism and Equality.Michael Walzer - 1983 - Basic Books.
Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961 - Distribution for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Boston.
Citations of this work
Abusive Supervision and Employee Deviance: A Multifoci Justice Perspective.Haesang Park, Jenny M. Hoobler, Junfeng Wu, Robert C. Liden, Jia Hu & Morgan S. Wilson - 2019 - Journal of Business Ethics 158 (4):1113-1131.
They Can Be Choosers: Aid, Levinas and Unconditional Cash Transfers.Julio Andrade - 2019 - African Journal of Business Ethics 13 (2).
The Inhibitory Effect of Political Conservatism on Consumption: The Case of Fair Trade.Thomas Usslepp, Sandra Awanis, Margaret K. Hogg & Ahmad Daryanto - 2021 - Journal of Business Ethics 176 (3):519-531.
Catering to Otherness: Levinasian Consumer Ethics at Restaurant Day.Joel Hietanen & Antti Sihvonen - 2020 - Journal of Business Ethics 168 (2):261-276.
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