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The 2022 Jacobsen Lecture will be given by Debra Satz, Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society at Stanford University. 

What’s wrong with treating human labor power as a commodity: the argument from democratic character.

Recent egalitarian thought has not focused on the negative effects of the commodification of human labor power, largely directing attention to distributional measures that can be taken outside of the labor market, such as taxation, universal basic income, or those pertaining to securing equality of opportunity.  Some of these distributional measures can be understood, as mentioned, as partially de-commodifying labor power. But they don’t necessarily change the nature of the work people do, nor how they are treated at work. In this paper I argue that there are downstream consequences of work and workplace organization for democratic citizenship that egalitarians need to be concerned with. 

Debra Satz is the Vernon R. & Lysbeth Warren Anderson Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. She is the Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society, Professor of Philosophy and, by courtesy, Political Science. She teaches courses in ethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of social science. Her research has focused on the ethical limits of markets, the place of equality in political philosophy, theories of rational choice, democratic theory, feminist philosophy, and issues of international justice.

The Jacobsen Lecture

The Jacobsen Lecture was established in the 1980s following a donation to the University from Mr J. A. B. Jacobsen. Along with the Lecture, Mr Jacobsen also funded the creation of a research fellowship and an essay prize which are all on the subject of philosophy. The Jacobsen trust funds are based at the Institute of Philosophy within the School of Advanced Study. The funds are overseen by the Jacobsen Committee which is comprised of academics from Philosophy Departments across the University of London Colleges.  

Attendance is free of change but registration is required. Please register using the button below.