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  • Cited by 2
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Teson, F. R. 2014. When Philosophers Misdiagnose. Analysis, Vol. 74, Issue. 1, p. 107.

    Kurihara, Yutaka 2012. Is the WTO Truly Effective?. iBusiness, Vol. 04, Issue. 02, p. 121.



  • Fernando R. Tesón (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 14 December 2011

The article argues that free trade is required by any plausible conception of justice. Free trade is supported by a host of consequentialist and deontological reasons. Empirically, trade increases global and national wealth, and in particular helps the poor. Morally, those who benefit from protectionist laws are not deserving beneficiaries of wealth redistribution. Both economic theory and evidence amply warrant the view that trade is beneficial. Protectionism by rich countries is harmful, not only to those countries' consumers, but to producers in poor countries. Given this, and given the fact that protectionism is almost always the result of political pressure by inefficient producers, there is no plausible moral reason to support it. Protectionism by poor countries is equally harmful. Relying on the institutionalist literature, the article shows that protectionism is yet another bad institution that contributes to economic stagnation in those countries. The article considers and rejects two criticisms of free trade: the problem of stolen goods, and the pauper-labor argument.

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Dan Ben-David and Michael B. Loewy , “Knowledge Dissemination, Capital Accumulation, Trade, and Endogenous Growth,” Oxford Economic Papers, 52 (2000): 646

T. N. Srinivasan and Jessica S. Wallack , “Globalization, Growth, and the Poor,” De Economist 152 (2004): 251

Jagdish Bhagwati and T. N. Srinivasan , “Trade and Poverty in the Poor Countries,” American Economic Review 92 (2002): 180

Richard Miller , “Cosmopolitan Respect and Patriotic Concern,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 27 (1998): 202

Thomas Nagel , “The Problem of Global Justice,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2005): 113

Arthur Ripstein , “Beyond the Harm Principle,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 34, no. 3 (2006): 215

Richard A. Epstein , “The Harm Principle—And How It Grew,” University of Toronto Law Review 45 (1995): 369

John O. McGinnis and Mark L. Movsesian , “The World Trade Constitution,” Harvard Law Review 114 (2000): 521–31

Mathias Risse , “Justice in Trade I: Obligations from Trading and the Pauper-Labor Argument,” Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 6 (2007): 356

Leif Weinar , “Property Rights and the Resource Curse,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 36 (2008): 2

Mathias Risse develops a full (and I think definitive) response to Pogge in his article “How Does the Global Order Harm the Poor?Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2005): 349–76

Thomas Pogge , “Real World Justice,” Journal of Ethics 9 (2005): 29

James A. Brander and Barbara J. Spencer , “Export Subsidies and International Market Share Rivalry,” Journal of International Economics 18 (1985): 83

Paul Krugman 's criticism, “Does the New Trade Theory Require a New trade Policy,” The World Economy 15 (1992): 423

Joseph L. Love , “The Rise and Decline of Economic Structuralism in Latin America: New Dimensions,” Latin American Research Review 40 (2005): 105

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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