Beyond coercion: moral assessment in the labour market
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Making moral assessments in the labour market has too often simply been a matter of distinguishing voluntary transactions from coercive ones. For example, some libertarians argue that consent alone makes le-gal transactions in the labour market voluntary and, therefore, morally justified. Some of their critics argue that such an act of consent is no guarantee against coercion. To know whether agreements are voluntary we need to assess the quality of these offers and the quality of the pre-vailing background conditions. To move beyond this stalemate I pro-pose a middle position where the question of voluntariness is put on hold. I argue that ‘libertarian’ consent confers a certain level of legiti-macy to the firm’s offers. However, for these offers to be morally justi-fied they must also possess another quality, though not the one that their critics have suggested; the offers need to be reasonable. Thus, the liber-tarian notion of consent is neither as flawed as its critics have argued nor sufficient to justify transactions in the labour market. An ethical frame-work is suggested which is rooted in a more convincing story of what is morally worrying with a labour market based on libertarian principles.
consent, labour market, moral assessment, legitimacy, wrong, exploitation, coercion
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-131266OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-131266DiVA: diva2:655138
QS 20132013-10-102013-10-102013-10-10Bibliographically approved