Exploitation and Remedial Duties

Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (1):55-72 (2021)
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The concept of exploitation and potentially exploitative real-world practices are the subject of increasing philosophical attention. However, while philosophers have extensively debated what exploitation is and what makes it wrong, they have said surprisingly little about what might be required to remediate it. By asking how the consequences of exploitation should be addressed, this article seeks to contribute to filling this gap. We raise two questions. First, what are the victims of exploitation owed by way of remediation? Second, who ought to remediate? Our answers to these questions are connected by the idea that exploitation cannot be fully remediated by redistributing the exploiter's gain in order to repair or compensate the victim's loss. This is because exploitation causes not only distributive but also relational harm. Therefore, redistributive measures are necessary but not sufficient for adequate remediation. Moreover, this relational focus highlights the fact that exploitative real-world practices commonly involve agents other than the exploiter who stand to benefit from the exploitation. Insofar as these third parties are implicated in the distributive and relational harms caused by exploitation, there is, we argue, good reason to assign part of the burden of remediation to them.
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Archival date: 2021-08-07
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