Institute of Philosophy

Research Projects

Complicity in the Global Marketplace

As consumers, employees, and stockowners, we are engaged in market relations with various other agents worldwide. Some of these other agents may be committing moral wrongs. Are we complicit in their wrongdoing when we buy from them, sell to them, or provide them with capital, and if so, under what conditions and to what degree?

Despite their obvious practical importance, questions surrounding market complicity have not yet received much attention from philosophers. The dominant analyses of moral complicity on the grounds of intentional participation and causal contribution are vague at best in their implications for market transactions. The more applied literature on justice in the global market, on the other hand, often takes an exclusively institutional perspective, thus being of limited utility in evaluating the responsibilities of individual market agents under non-ideal circumstances. The goal of this project is to fill this lacuna.

By clarifying the notion of market complicity, the project makes a valuable contribution to the theory of complicity more generally, and opens up a decidedly non-ideal and interactional perspective on the ethics of global market relations.



This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.