Exploitation and Global Health

hello and welcome back to this video series on global health ethics my name is Greg Martin in this episode we're going to take a look at the idea of exploitation most of us intuitively Holst the notion that if an impoverished person sells one of his or her kidneys for a teenager's coerced into prostitution or perhaps sells him or herself into slavery then that person in some shape or form is being exploited now an extreme libertarian would of course argue that provided the exchanges voluntary it represents the best option for both parties and therefore can't possibly be exploitative so what exactly do we mean by exploitation and where should society draw the lines a simple definition of exploitation is this it's the voluntary exchange of two things of an equal value where the exploited party voluntarily accepts an unfair exchange as a result of some pre-existing injustice or rights violation to understand this a little bit let's consider the spectrum of possible transactions between two parties in any transaction goods and services go from at least one party to another and sometimes in both directions and one end of the spectrum is gifting with no expectation of payment and at the other end of the spectrum is robbery with no possibility of payment and in the middle somewhere there's an opportunity for fair exchange somewhere between fair exchange and a gift is what we call a benefit and the counterpart to a benefit a transaction somewhere between a fair exchange and robbery is what we call exploitation so the question is why would anyone go into a transaction with in which what they're going to get out of the transaction is worth less than what they're putting in your extreme free market I would argue that you can't possibly have exploitation because the value of anything is defined by the price that you can get for on any given day however this fair exchange assumes that there's no background injustice affecting the decision-making of the parties concerned let's imagine an auction and at this auction we're selling books now in the free market system the market works when all the possible buyers have an opportunity to live if the book was sold for $20 but a potential buyer who would have paid $30 was unfairly barred at the door then the seller will have been X to a value of ten dollars from this example we can see how injustice can have an impact on the transaction and this is really what exploitation is okay to get your mental juices flowing he has a little bit of controversy is there a case to be made that historic injustice – for example or colonization has led to unfair exchanges today in which poor populations perhaps disproportionately participate from clinical trials or even worse surrender their organs to rich people for which they seemingly get very little benefit for themselves it's a controversial question I know but it's deliberately so because I'd like to hear what you think please put your comments below look forward to reading them thanks for this


  1. Well stated!
     Your lead-in examples are excellent for this topic.  Thank you for this media that bridges the information gap.

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