Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Time: 2:00 - 3:00
Contact: Andrew Shorten -

 Political debates about justice and labour immigration in Europe raise two important normative questions. Concerns with “social dumping” and “welfare tourism” express demands to protect the least advantaged local workers and the welfare state, cast in terms of social justice. Migrant advocacy groups, as well as many liberal thinkers, instead, focus on discrimination and exploitation and demand that migrant workers receive equal treatment. While both of these express relevant  normative concerns in a domestic normative framework they have a blind spot for considerations of global justice, i.e. equal moral concern with prospects of all, including potential migrants who are excluded and poor populations left behind in countries of origin. I argue that these three desiderata, namely social justice, global justice and equal treatment cannot be jointly satisfied, and present us with a moral trilemma under non-ideal circumstances. Reasoning about the numbers/right trade-off, i.e. the number of migrant workers that should be admitted, and the extensiveness of the package of rights that is owed to them should proceed in light of this trilemma. 
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