Summer School on “The Workings of Capital: Perspectives on Exploitation in Law, Labor, and Distribution”

When: July 15-17, 2021

Where: The school will be held online. We will monitor existing conditions and regulations, and if possible, we will move the event to a blended format, featuring on-campus lectures and online sessions. In case of a blended format, the event will be hosted at the Auditorium of the Institute of Letters and Human Sciences (ILCH) at the ​University of Minho, Braga.

Organization: This event is co-organized by the Centre for Ethics, Politics, and Society of the University of Minho, and the Philosophy Department of the University of York

Convenors: Catarina Neves, Daniele Santoro, and Pedro Teixeira

Speakers:  Martin O’Neill (University of York), Katharina Pistor (Columbia University), João Rodrigues (Universidade de Coimbra), Nicholas Vrousalis (University of Rotterdam)

Website: https://12thsummerschoolcepsbraga.weebly.com

Description
Since Marx’s early theorization, exploitation has been identified as a defining feature of the capitalist mode of production. Exploitation sheds light on the causes of the unfair distribution of resources, opportunities, and wealth, the commodification of the labor market, as well as the plundering of natural resources. It also has the normative significance of both a moral wrongdoing and a structural aspect of an unjust system that calls for change, activism, and revolution once again. As inequalities soar and the concentration of wealth lacerates the social fabric of traditional welfare state societies, the exploitative nature of late-stage capitalism has drawn the attention of a new generation of political philosophers, both in the critical and the analytical tradition.

How does capitalist exploitation take place through legal, distribution, and productive means?  How should we understand the conceptual and normative dimensions of exploitation, and what policies should be pursued to create a less exploitative form of production? The goal of the 12th edition is to answer this question by exploring the role exploitation plays within new forms of capitalist production.

The critique of capitalism is a recurrent theme of the School. In past editions, we discussed alternatives to the existing capitalist regime, such as property-owning democracy (2014) and democratic socialism (2018). We also questioned the legitimacy of free-market capitalism and the role of corporations (2019). 

Our aim in this edition is to elucidate the concept of exploitation, investigate its distributive implications for public policy, its impact on labor and the labor market, and the legal framework enabling exploitative processes.

Among the questions we are particularly interested in debating are the following:   

  • What is exploitation? Is exploitation always unjust? How to distinguish exploitation from other forms of moral wrongdoing?
  • What taxonomy of exploitation can we identify in capitalistic and socialist regimes?
  • Are new forms of exploitation essentially distinct from traditional forms of exploitation?
  • Which are the forms of labor most affected by current forms of exploitation? How can decommodification mitigate individuals’ exploitation in the labor market?
  • How can policies of predistribution and/or redistribution address issues of exploitation?
  • Can egalitarian policies mitigate exploitation, and if so, which ones are the most effective?
  • Can exploitation happen in an egalitarian society, and what can we do about it?
  • What is the role of the law in perpetuating inequality and exploitation, especially through financial markets?

Format

The school will take place over three days. Two invited lectures will be delivered each day. We invite the participation of Ph.D. students, postdoctoral scholars, and established researchers to join us in the discussion and present their ongoing work on these topics or any related theme. Abstract proposals should not exceed 500 words. To submit a proposal, visit the School’s website.

Deadline for Abstract submission: May 30, 2021
Applicants who only wish to attend the summer school, and do not want to submit a proposal, should only register for the event (see information below).

Participation

Due to travel restrictions that could still affect on-site participation next Summer, the School is being organized in a digital format this year. We hope that delivering the event online will encourage proposals from many who might be hesitating to commit to an in-person event, giving the current uncertainty. We will follow the changes in travel restrictions and the regulations in Portugal regarding international academic events. In case the situation changes, we will consider a blended format for the school, and we will inform all participants. More information about the format will be provided closer to the date of the school. For now, participants will be asked to submit their preferences for the school’s format.

The participation fee is 30 Euros in case the school takes place online. In case we are able to organize a partial in-person event, we will ask participants to increase the fee up to 50 Euros to cover expenses.  Detailed information about registration and payment procedures are available on the School’s website.

Deadline for registration: June 20, 2021. ​​

Information about the program and the school format will be available later on the website. 

For other queries, contact: 12thbragasummerschool@gmail.com

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