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May 17 “Indeterminacy of Contract and Labour Market Justice” 5月17日(周四)合同的非确定性和劳动力市场正义
Date:2018-05-14  Clicks:181

Indeterminacy of Contract and Labour Market Justice


Dr Daniel Halliday

WHU Philosophy Spring Seminar Series

Thursday 17 May 2018  周四 5月17日下午2:30 哲学学院 B214


Labour markets are characterized by what economists call 'indeterminate contract'. This is manifest in the way that employment contracts leave much open as to what workers are supposed to do, allowing employers to make decisions according to the changing needs of the firm. In this way, employment contracts are like other contracts, such as the one you might have with a rental car company, which are highly determinate.

In many labour markets, indeterminate contracts allow employers to dominate their workers. Traditionally, political philosophy has responded with proposals that seek to make contracts more determinate (e.g. minimum wage, rules on paid leave and breaks) or to enhance workers' bargaining position by lowering costs of exit (e.g. a welfare state). While these proposals can make some progress, it is possible to accept that indeterminacy of contract may not be such a bad thing. What labour market justice may require is additional emphasis on how such contracts are policed.

I will make some proposals along these lines, relating to the ability of employees to take their employers to court, and for other modes of policing familiar from other branches of law.

About the Speaker

Dr Daniel Halliday teaches political philosophy at Melbourne University. He works mainly on topics about economic justice, especially questions about markets and taxation.  His book "The Inheritance of Wealth: Justice, Equality and the Right to Bequeath" was published in 2018 by Oxford University Press. He holds a PhD in philosophy from Stanford University.

Suggested Background Reading

Anderson, Elizabeth (2015) ‘Liberty, Equality, and Private Government’, delivered as part of The Tanner Lectures in Human Values at Princeton University.

When and Where

Pre-Seminar Briefing

· When: 14:30-15:30

· Where: B214, School of Philosophy


· When: 15:30-16:00

· Where: Starbucks (all welcome, at own expense)

Seminar Presentation:

· When: 16:00-17:15

· Where: B214, School of Philosophy

 Suggested Reading - Elizabeth Anderson.pdf