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The Employment Contract between Ethics and Economics
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy. (Filosofi)
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates what work ought to be like. The answer it presents consists of an outline of a liberaltheory of justice in the employment contract based on theory developed in the area of political philosophy. Thethesis also examines issues of efficiency—How should measures to improve working conditions be evaluated?—and the ethical implications of the economic theory of employment contracts and the neoclassical theory of themarket.

Paper I: A theoretical framework is introduced for the evaluation of workplace inspections with respect totheir effects on working conditions. The choice of a concept of efficiency is discussed, and its relation to criteriafor a good working environment is clarified. It is concluded that in order to obtain reliable information onthe effects of different inspection methods, it is necessary to perform controlled comparative studies in whichdifferent methods are used on different workplaces.

Paper II: This article outlines the structure of a Rawlsian theory of justice in the employment relationship.The theory answers three questions about justice and the workplace. What is the relationship between socialjustice and justice at work? How should we conceive of the problem of justice within the economic sphere?And, what is justice in the workplace? Reasons for a specific construction of a local original position are givenand arguments are presented in support of a principle of local justice in the form of a choice egalitarian localdifference principle.

Paper III: The political philosophy of John Rawls is applied to the moral dilemma of whistleblowing, andit is shown that that the requirement of loyalty, in the sense that is needed to create this dilemma, is inconsistentwith that theory. In a discussion and rejection of Richard De George’s criteria on permissible whistleblowing,it is pointed out that the mere rejection of loyalty will not lead to an extreme position; harms can still be takeninto account.

Paper IV: The case is made that if contemporary economics of the employment contract is correct, thenin order to explain the existence of employment contracts, we must make the assumption that the contractingparties are attempting to deal with decisiontheoreticignorance. It follows that the course of action that theemployer chooses to take when acting from authority cannot be justified by consent, since the informednesscriterion of consent cannot be satisfied under ignorance. It is then suggested that in order to achieve justificationof acts of authority, there must be in place a real possibility to contest employers’ decisions.

Paper V: According to Ronald Dworkin’s theory of equality of resources, mimicking the ideal market fromequal starting points is fair. According to Dworkin, the ideal market should be understood as described in GérardDebreu’s influential work, which implies that we should conceive of trade as taking place under certainty. Thereare no choices under risk in such a market. Therefore, there is no such thing as option luck in the ideal market.Consequently, when mimicking this market, we cannot hold people responsible for option luck. Mimicking thismarket also implies that we ought to set up a social safety net, since rational individuals with perfect foresightwould see to it that they always have sufficient resources at each point in life. Furthermore, the idea of insuranceis incompatible with the ideal market.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2009. , ix, 32 p.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831
Keyword [en]
Justice, work, efficiency, desert, consent, contestability, workplace inspections, whistleblowing, the market, equality of resources, justice as fairness, the employment contract
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-11346ISBN: 978-91-7415-467-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-11346DiVA: diva2:274344
Public defence
2009-11-13, D2, Lindstedtsvägen 5, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100728Available from: 2009-10-28 Created: 2009-10-28 Last updated: 2010-07-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Evaluating workplace inspections
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluating workplace inspections
2004 (English)In: Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, ISSN 1477-3996, E-ISSN 1477-4003, no 2, 77-91 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper introduces a theoretical framework for the evaluation of workplace inspections with respect to their effects on working conditions. The choice of a concept of efficiency is discussed, and its relation to criteria for a good working environment is clarified. It concludes that in order to obtain reliable information on the effects of different inspection methods, it is necessary to perform controlled comparative studies in which different methods are used in different workplaces. Given the ease with which such studies can be performed, it is surprising how few have been made. The studies that are available provide sufficient evidence that inspections can increase compliance with regulations and that they can also increase workplace safety, but not much can be concluded about the relative efficiency of different inspection methods.

National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-14248 (URN)
Note
QC 20100728Available from: 2010-07-28 Created: 2010-07-28 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Dissolving the moral dilemma of whistleblowing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dissolving the moral dilemma of whistleblowing
2007 (English)In: Journal of Business Ethics, ISSN 0167-4544, E-ISSN 1573-0697, Vol. 76, no 4, 413-426 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The ethical debate on whistleblowing concerns centrally the conflict between the right to political free speech and the duty of loyalty to the organization where one works. This is the moral dilemma of whistleblowing. Political free speech is justified because it is a central part of liberal democracy, whereas loyalty can be motivated as a way of showing consideration for one's associates. The political philosophy of John Rawls is applied to this dilemma, and it is shown that the requirement of loyalty, in the sense that is needed to create the moral dilemma of whistleblowing, is inconsistent with that theory. In this sense, there is no moral dilemma of whistleblowing. This position has been labelled extreme in that it says that whistleblowing is always morally permitted. In a discussion and rejection of Richard De George's criteria on permissible whistleblowing, it is pointed out that the mere rejection of loyalty will not lead to an extreme position; harms can still be taken into account. Furthermore, it is argued that the best way is, in this as in most other political circumstances, to weigh harms is provided by the free speech argument from democracy.

Keyword
free speech, justice as fairness, loyalty, permission for whistleblowing, whistleblowing
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-14250 (URN)10.1007/s10551-006-9291-2 (DOI)000250626100004 ()2-s2.0-35748967548 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100728Available from: 2010-07-28 Created: 2010-07-28 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. The Structure of a Rawlsian Theory of Just Work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Structure of a Rawlsian Theory of Just Work
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-14249 (URN)
Note
QC 20100728Available from: 2010-07-28 Created: 2010-07-28 Last updated: 2010-07-28Bibliographically approved
4. Consent, Contestability and Employer Authority
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Consent, Contestability and Employer Authority
2009 (English)In: Revue de philosofie économique, ISSN 1376-0971, Vol. 10, no 2, 47-79 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [fr]

Cet article discute l'argument selon lequel l'autorité de l'employeur se légitime par le consentement des employés. Si l'analyse économique contemporaine des contrats de travail est correcte, alors nous devons, pour expliquer l'existence de contrats de travail, faire l'hypothèse que les parties qui le signent essaient de réduire leur incertitude ou leur ignorance en prévision de décisions à prendre. C'est pourquoi les parties sont d'accord pour signer un contrat incomplet dans lequel l'employeur à l'autorité. Cependant, ceci implique que le consentement a été donné sous des conditions d'ignorance. Il en découle alors que les décisions prises par l'employeur ne peuvent pas être justifiées par le consentement parce que l'ignorance empêche de satisfaire le critère selon lequel le consentement ne peut être le fait que d'individus informés. Il faut donc trouver une autre légitimation à l'autorité des employeurs sur les employés. Nous suggérons que les actes d'autorité ne peuvent être légitimes que si les employés ont de réelles possibilités pour les contester.

National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-14251 (URN)
Note
QC 20100728Available from: 2010-07-28 Created: 2010-07-28 Last updated: 2010-07-28Bibliographically approved
5. Equality of Resources, Risk and the Ideal Market
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Equality of Resources, Risk and the Ideal Market
2010 (English)In: Arbetarrörelsens forskarnätverk, 10 April 2010, 2010Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

According to Ronald Dworkin, mimicking the ideal market from equal starting points is fair.This paper spells out the implications of taking the ideal market seriously for equality ofresources. The ideal market is described by neoclassical economics, in which certaintyreigns. There are no choices under risk in such a market. Therefore, there is no such thingas option luck in the ideal market. Consequently, when mimicking this market we cannotand should not hold people responsible for option luck. Moreover, mimicking this marketimplies that we ought to set up a social safety net, since rational individuals with perfectforesight would see to it that they always have sufficient resources at each point in life.Furthermore, the idea of insurance is incompatible with the ideal market. This suggeststhat insurance cannot play a fundamental role in equality of resources. This opens up thequestion of whether the goals of the insurance thought experiments in equality ofresources would be better served by some other mechanism, such as the willingness topay method.

Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-14252 (URN)
Note
QC 20100728Available from: 2010-07-28 Created: 2010-07-28 Last updated: 2010-07-28Bibliographically approved

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