Ewan Kingston

Ewan Kingston


Dissertation: Bad goods? Global market actors and the default responsibility for regulation.


Domestic governments have responsibility to regulate market activity to prevent some morally bad outcomes, and to meet legitimate international standards such as human rights. There are cases in which domestic governments are clearly not meeting their responsibility to regulate market activity. These include cases where relevant domestic laws have not been passed, or where relevant laws exist but are not successfully implemented. Ineffective or non-existent regulation of labor and environmental standards in developing countries provide a good example. In such cases, we can ask who else should be assigned default responsibility to prevent the morally bad outcomes. One possible set of agents are the market actors that profit from and often contribute to the failure to regulate. The popular and academic literature often turns to consumers of the goods produced under such conditions as responsibility-bearers in the face of failures of regulation. Are consumers really an appropriate group to be asked to step in? What are the other candidate groups or institutions, and under what conditions would it be more appropriate for default responsibility to be distributed to them? Who should oversee such a distribution of responsibility?