This chapter challenges economic skepticism about whether the idea of fairness applies in international trade. It argues that the standard economic case for free trade is consistent with, and even implicitly assumes, the significance of domestic or international distribution. It also argues that the case for free trade cannot ultimately be unilateral. Given a fundamental problem of assurance, the global economy essentially depends on an international practice of mutual market reliance that offers assurances of sufficient benefit from trade.
Keywords: Pareto efficiency, Kaldor-Hicks efficiency, utilitarianism, classical theory of trade, neo-classical theory of trade, political economy, social practice, international law and practice, prisoner’s dilemma, assurance problem, uncertainty, mutuality
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