Distinguishing Injustice, Exploitation and Harm

The Impossibility Result

in Theoria
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  • 1 Monash University elias.khalil@monash.edu
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This article advances what it calls the ‘Impossibility Result’: it is impossible to claim that the reduction of exploitation leads to the improvement of efficiency. The Impossibility Result is the inevitable result of the proposed conceptual difference between ‘injustice’ and ‘exploitation’. Injustice occurs when one member of a society deviates from the norms and the legal rules concerning how one should treat other members of that society. Exploitation occurs when one member of a society takes advantage of entities such wild animals, cattle, a field of vegetables, or other people that lie outside the boundary of that society. In many cases of exploitation, the exploited may derive some benefit, as in the case when enslavement is better than death. In other cases of exploitation, the exploited may derive zero benefit, called here ‘harm’, as in the case when a deer is hunted.

Contributor Notes

Elias L. Khalil is an Associate Professor of Economics at Monash University. He focuses on rational choice in light of findings of behavioural decision theory. His papers appeared in Economic Inquiry, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Biology and Philosophy, Biological Theory, Theory and Decision, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Journal of Evolutionary Economics, International Negotiation, Theoria, Philosophy, Economic Modelling, Economics Letters, Kyklos, and Economics and Philosophy.


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