The latest issue of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (12/4, November 2013) features a symposium on exploitation. In his introduction, editor Thomas Christiano explains that the recent focus on market liberalism and voluntary exchange has reduced the attention given to issues of exploitation, but
[t]here are, however, signs of renewed theoretical interest in exploitation and unfairness in exchange, and hopefully the papers in this symposium will become part of a resurgence of interest in these important issues. The items by Hillel Steiner, Jeremy Snyder, and A. J. Julius attempt to show how mutually advantageous and voluntary transactions can nevertheless be exploitative and for that reason morally problematic. They do this without the aid of a conception of equal exchange or a basic theory of value in exchange.
Hillel Steiner attempts to develop a general account of exploitation that can be fit into the classical liberal tradition which takes seriously the right of each person to enter into voluntary exchange with others. Jeremy Snyder develops a more complex conception of exploitation that employs the notion that exploitation is demeaning to the exploited persons, who themselves have reasons to resist it, and A. J. Julius attempts to develop a conception of exploitation by appealing to the claim that in morally unproblematic exchange, the participants must have prior reasons to promote each other’s concerns that an exchange enables them to satisfy. Each of these views is distinct and will provide the materials for distinct lines of inquiry into exploitation. Mathias Doepke attempts to develop a conception of the exploitation of child labor with the tools of modern economics. Richard Arneson’s more skeptical view is that while there are clear wrongs involved in much of what is called exploitation, the notion of exploitation itself does not capture anything morally fundamental. He challenges a number of recent accounts of the wrongs of exploitation.
The papers in this symposium issue are:
Liberalism, neutrality and exploitation, Hillel Steiner
Exploitation and demeaning choices, Jeremy Snyder
The possibility of exchange, AJ Julius
Exploitation, altruism, and social welfare: An economic exploration, Matthias Doepke
Exploitation and outcome, Richard Arneson
Freedom and oppression, Claire Grant