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Fair Trade, Formal Equality, and Preferential Treatment

Christensen, J (2015) 'Fair Trade, Formal Equality, and Preferential Treatment.' Social Theory and Practice, 41 (3). 505 - 526. ISSN 0037-802X

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Abstract

In this paper I criticize the claim that fair trade entails a commitment to an ideal of formal equality according to which all members of the trade regime are to receive and offer equal, or uniform, treatment. I first elaborate on the idea of formal equality and its rationales, identify several positive arguments for departing from formal equality, and respond to a number of objections to “special and differential treatment” for poor countries. I then consider in more detail one specific element of formal equality in the trade regime, namely, the principle of reciprocity. Several distinct reciprocity principles are identified, none of which, I argue, should be regarded as a requirement of fairness. Next I consider a more recent interpretation of formal equality that requires trading countries to “harmonize” domestic laws and policies. I argue that harmonization is not required by fairness.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2015 16:15
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2018 12:56
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/15009

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