Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 October 2019
This paper mounts a partial defense of the basic structure objection to the egalitarian criticism of productive incentives. The defense is based on the claim that some duties of justice are subject to a reciprocity condition. The paper develops this position via an examination of the debate between Andrew Williams and G. A. Cohen on publicity and incentives. Reciprocity is an intrinsic feature of a relational conception of social justice, not simply a requirement of stability. Not all duties are conditional on reciprocity because some duties are owed to third parties, as well as to their primary targets. Some forms of exploitation may be unconditionally wrong, but not the specific kind of exploitation at stake when talented individuals accept market wages.