Justice Everywhere

a blog about justice in public affairs

CFA: Workshop on “Justice for Millionaires?”, University of Essex, December 12-13th 2017

In recent years, there have been a number of notable news stories reporting the extent of Hollywood’s (and now the BBC’s) gender pay gap, whereby female actors tend to earn considerably less than their male counterparts. These stories generate conflicting intuitions. On the one hand, the unequal remuneration involved looks like a troubling case of gender injustice. On the other hand, there is something odd about the conclusion that these multi-millionaires are victims of distributive injustice: many people believe that the super-rich already have more than that to which they are entitled. This workshop considers the different themes that are at play in this apparent conflict of intuitions, such as discrimination, exploitation, sufficiency, feminism, the morality of markets, and expressivism. We invite any scholars working on these questions (or other ones that bear on the workshop topic) to attend.

Confirmed speakers include: Richard Arneson (UCSD), Clare Burgum (UNE), Susanne Burri (LSE), and Anca Gheaus (UPF).

If you would like to present a paper at this workshop, please send an abstract of 500-1000 words to David Axelsen (D.Axelsen@lse.ac.uk) by September 1st 2017. Presenters will be asked to pre-circulate a version of their paper one week in advance of the workshop.

This event is sponsored by the British Academy.

Germany and European Solidarity (or Lack thereof!): Why We Need the Right Kind of Leader

… and why Schulz could be the one

Saying that the right thing to do is for Germany to show more solidarity towards the European South is hardly news. But how can this be achieved in times of populism? In spite of the odds, Martin Schulz (the Chancellor candidate of the SPD) could play a surprisingly refreshing role in this respect.

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More Solidarity among EU Citizens

From June 14th to June 16th, the Amsterdam Centre for Contemporary European Studies (ACCESS EUROPE) organised an international conference on “Solidarity and European integration”. In his contribution to the panel “European solidarity and justice: normative issues”, Andrea Sangiovanni presented his dispositional analysis of the concept “solidarity”. He defines solidarity as a (complex) disposition to sacrifice one’s own self-interest (narrowly understood) for the good of others. In order to distinguish solidarity from utilitarian altruism, love, enlightened self-interest, and fairness, he further specifies it as being a disposition to sacrifice that is impersonal, narrow, and person-directed. It is a disposition to sacrifice one’s own self-interest for the sake of overcoming an adversity faced by other member states or EU citizens. Such a dispositional analysis is, I believe, much more promising than, for instance, an analysis of solidarity as a mental state. It enables us to reach a better understanding of the conditions that are most conducive to the development of solidarity and the factors that hinder it. In this post, I develop some thoughts on how to address this issue in the European context.

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Is Aid Effective?

Picture a hospital, bringing in thousands of people every day who suffer from a host of different ailments, many of them contagious. If you go there for one reason, there is a risk you will end up suffering from something else by the time you leave: a complex medical procedure could go wrong, or – more likely – you could end up catching something from a fellow patient or a visitor. Working there puts you in an equally dangerous situation, as you spend your days alongside seriously ill people. A hospital, in short, has a “negative baseline” of secondary effects that must be overcome for it to be beneficial to the community it serves. Yet very few people would be bold enough to suggest we would be better off without hospitals.

This is development economist Paul Collier’s (2006, p. 1485) defence of development aid. I believe it strikes at the heart of a common misconception about aid. And it matters when it comes to the philosophical question of what we owe to others.

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Global Justice meets Global Democracy

Workshop at the University of Durham

22nd and 23rd June 2017

The Durham Centre for Political Thought in collaboration with the Global Politics Masters Programme and Global Policy Institute are set to host a 2 day workshop next week to discuss questions of global justice, democracy, power and legitimacy.

The event ‘Global Justice Meets Global Democracy’ is organised by Elizabeth Kahn and Luke Ulas and will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of June at Elvett Riverside 1 (ER148). The workshop will consist in the presentation of ‘work in progress’ papers given by a number of invited speakers,  followed by a pre-prepared responses and broader discussion.

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Call for Papers: Journal of Global Ethics Special Issue on Education and Migration

Guest editors Julian Culp (Frankfurt) and Danielle Zwarthoed (Louvain)

Submission of abstracts: asap

Submission of papers: October 15, 2017

Direct enquiries and submissions to: Culp@em.uni-frankfurt.de ; Danielle.Zwarthoed@uclouvain.be

Following upon the special issue Refugee Crisis: The Borders of Human Mobility (December, 2016), The Journal of Global Ethics introduces a special issue concerning the responsibilities for education that pertain to international migration. The Journal of Global Ethics invites scholars and practitioners from the disciplines of education, economics, law, philosophy, political science sociology and other fields to submit articles for review.

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Student Teaching Evaluations

What’s the best way of digesting student teaching evaluations?

This is a difficult question to answer, even for an experienced teacher. Student evaluations can be very helpful and give you a good sense of what is working and what isn’t, and also perhaps what to do about it. But it can be quite upsetting to receive negative feedback especially if it is flippant or personal, as some of it is.

For these reasons, when we received the student evaluations for our first year compulsory political theory module, I emailed my teaching assistants (all PhD students or recent graduates) with some advice.

I am sure there’s lots more good advice I missed out and perhaps there are things that I say here are mistaken. If so I’d be delighted to be further informed about how best to react to feedback and how I might better advise my TAs in particular. But thinking it might have some useful guidance for others, I post a slightly altered version of the email below.

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Interdisciplinary fellowship on global challenges

The Hochschule für Politik München (Bavarian School of Public Policy) advertises an interdisciplinary fellowship in “Global Transformations.” It is open to political theorists with an interdisciplinary bend. Details here:

http://www.hfp.tum.de/fileadmin/w00bwi/www/hfp/News/Post-Doc_Fellowship_Global_Transformations.pdf

If everything is measured, can we still see one another as equals?

Relational egalitarians hold what matters for justice is that all members of a society “stand in relations of equality to others.” The idea that all human beings are moral equals is widely shared: it underlies the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many national constitutions. How will this norm be affected by the arrival of “big data,” the collecting and analysing of huge amounts of data about individuals? Internet companies and government services collect data about individuals’ activities, including geographic locations, shopping behaviour and friendships. Many individuals voluntarily share such information on social media, some also track their physical activities in meticulous details. Experts expect that “people analytics” – big data applied to the measurement of work performance – will have a revolutionary impact on labour markets.

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Maternity leave: why should employers pay?

Labour Market Injustice

Labour markets are rife with questions of justice. This series of blog posts; explore cases of injustice, highlight theoretical puzzles and point towards possible solutions. They emerged from debates at the ‘Labour Market Injustice’ Workshop co-hosted by Newcastle and Durham Universities and generously sponsored by the Society for Applied Philosophy.  In this fourth post Sarah Goff discusses bearing the costs of maternity leave.

In a 2004 interview, Donald Trump described pregnancy as an inconvenience” for business. Whether or not this remark reveals anything about President Trump’s intentions for his promised reforms to maternity leave in the U.S., it seems plausible as a statement of fact. For a business, it often will be an inconvenience for employees to have a legal right to take a leave of absence and return to their positions without penalty. Of course, the cost of providing paid leave is additional to any costs incurred from the inconvenience of the leave-taking itself.

Observing that there are costs to maternity leave does not imply new mothers lack a moral right to take it. The observation simply raises the question of who is responsible for bearing these costs. The case for employers to provide paid maternity leave is less strong than the case for employers to accommodate new mothers in taking a period of leave with a right to return to their jobs. While only employers can bear the cost of the inconvenience to business, there are many feasible arrangements for other actors to bear the costs of providing financial support during maternity leave. In fact, there is substantial variation across societies in: public provision for paid maternity leave, legal mandates on employers to provide paid leave, employers’ provision of paid leave in excess of legal requirements (particularly in high paying industries where there is a business interest in retaining skilled employees), and social and cultural practices of support for new parents from extended families and kinship networks.

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