International trade

Christian Barry, Scott Wisor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Moral and political debates about globalization – the expansion of the flow of goods, capital, ideas and people within a market-oriented framework – have often concentrated on the governance and practice of international trade. For some, the evolving international trading system is indicative of all the benefits that globalization makes possible. For others, it is a sign of the hypocrisy and self-seeking orientation of wealthy people in affluent countries that, they allege, have crafted a global economic order that unduly benefits them at the expense of the poor countries (along with poorer workers in their own countries). International trade has also begun to attract the attention of moral and political theorists.Here too there have been significant disagreements. For example, some elements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – the treaty body that governs international trade relations between 155 member states – have been singled out by some as paradigmatic instances of the ways in which the affluent countries contribute substantially to poverty abroad (Pogge 2002). Others have welcomed its emergence as an (admittedly imperfect and still nascent) international institution oriented towards promoting welfare throughout the world (Risse 2005a). Controversies among moral theorists have in part been due to differences in their views on the effects of current international trade arrangements. But they are also due to different views about the evaluative and normative principles that are appropriate to assess and govern international trade. In this chapter we explore some of these controversies. We begin by explaining some of the reasons why it might be supposed that there can besubstantial gains from international trade. We then explore some distinct types of complaints about trade policies and arrangements for governing international trade, and conclude with a brief discussion of how these normative considerations apply to the international trade in natural resources.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Global Ethics
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317592389
ISBN (Print)9781844656370
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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