5th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Brandi

Clara Brandi

The World Trade Organization as a Subject of Distributive Justice

The aim of this paper is to explore the relationship between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the concept of distributive justice. In my paper, I bracket potential links between trade and duties of global justice; instead, I argue that trade cooperation and governance in the context of the WTO gives rise to duties of distributive justice in its own right. More specifically, I argue that the WTO is to be perceived as a proper subject of substantive standards of distributive justice by focusing on the notion of Justice as Fair Reciprocity. Thereby, I argue that the existence of the WTO challenges the widely held view that the applicability of the concept of distributive justice is limited to the domestic realm, a view that has been defended from the perspective of both statism and nationalism. Yet, my argument implies that the case for requirements of just distribution beyond the domestic realm does not necessarily depend on cosmopolitan arguments for global justice. This points to where I think a promising focus of inquiry lies, namely on an intermediary ground consisting of a fertile area of recently established and emerging international institutions where an important part of the task of working out considerations of international justice lies.