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Title: Corporations and Rawlsian justice
Author: Tseung, Pui Heng Debbie
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 5634
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Corporations - their power and impact on society - are a neglected topic in political philosophy. In this thesis, I attempt to address this neglect by using the framework of Rawlsian justice to examine what corporations' relationship to social and international justice ought to be. The first part of the thesis is on domestic social justice. I urge that Rawlsians should not begin their inquiry by taking the corporate form as given because the corporation's existence requires a specific set of private-ordering and property rules to be in place. What we should ask, instead, is whether these rules are actually permitted by the two principles of justice as fairness. This question leads to an examination of different economic regimes that are compatible with Rawlsian justice. I focus on one particular regime - that of property-owning democracy. What I find is that while not all versions of property-owning democracy would permit the corporate form, some would actually welcome it due to the feature of 'the separation of ownership and control' that is typical of modern corporations. The second part of the thesis is on international justice. I argue that the best way to situate corporations in Rawls's theory of international justice - his Law of Peoples - is to connect them to the duty of assistance. This is not a straightforward task because a relatively strict reading of the duty of assistance would disallow treating corporations as primarily responsible for discharging it. However, a revisionist approach to the Law of Peoples shows that we can understand the duty of assistance as a part of transitional justice. The significance of this is that Rawls's prescribed ideal theory of international justice does not determine who the agents for transitional justice ought to be or the grounds for attributing responsibility to such agents. We are thus free to adopt David Miller's criteria for attribution of remedial responsibilities to assign to corporations responsibilities for the duty of assistance. What is more, in a particular area of international justice - that of fairness in trade - we can establish that corporations can be primary agents of transitional justice.
Supervisor: Miller, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social justice ; Transitional justice ; Corporations--Moral and ethical aspects