Are trade subsidies and tariffs killing the global poor?

Social Research: An International Quarterly (4):865-896 (2012)
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In recent years it has often been claimed that policies such as subsidies paid to domestic producers by affluent countries and tariffs on goods produced by foreign producers in poorer countries violate important moral requirements because they do severe harm to poor people, even kill them. Such claims involve an empirical aspect—such policies are on balance very bad for the global poor—and a philosophical aspect—that the causal influence of these policies can fairly be characterized as doing severe harm and killing. In this essay, we examine the philosophical aspect of this issue. We conclude that these policies do not do harm to the poor, but rather enable harm to them in various ways, and explore the moral implications of this fact.

Author's Profile

Christian Barry
Australian National University


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