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Rethinking the Very Idea of Egalitarian Markets and Corporations: Why Relationships Might Matter More than Distribution

  • Pierre-Yves Néron (a1)

What kinds of markets, market regulations, and business organizations are compatible with contemporary egalitarian theories of justice? This article argues that any thoughtful answer to this question will have to draw on recent developments in political philosophy that are concerned not only with the equality of the distribution of core goods (or as John Rawls famously put it, with the “distribution of the benefits and burdens of social cooperation”) but also with the requirements for equality of status, voice, and so on, in the relations between individuals and within organizations. The dominance of theories of distributive justice in egalitarian political philosophy since Rawls may have contributed, on the one hand, to the oft-recognized gulf between these theories and their theorists and, on the other, to discussions of corporate governance and business ethics. The main purpose of this article is to introduce business ethicists to some of the less-familiar features of recent relational theories of justice and equality, and to suggest that some of these notions may help bridge the gap between business ethics and political philosophy more generally.

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Business Ethics Quarterly
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