The Ethics and Politics of Regulation


Malik Bozzo-Rey, Université Catholique de Lille,

Karsten Klint Jensen, University of Copenhagen,

Xavier Landes, University of Copenhagen,


This workshop will address the central question of the principles that should guide regulation in modern societies. This question is transversal to political theory, economics and economic philosophy. It deals with the proper scope of the intervention of the state within individual interactions.

The issue is of a special relevance in the contemporary world for two reasons. The first reason is material. States are confronting the most difficult challenges in the After War period: public debts are on the rise, public services are jeopardized, redistributive policies are undermined. The second reason is conceptual. The model of the state inherited from the 1940’s and 1950’s has been gradually tackled. This tension on the proper scope of the public institutions is visible in the conservative revolution of the 1980’s, the continuous deregulation of markets and the demise of Keynesian politics that constituted the ground of modern regulation.

But despite these difficulties, new challenges should be met by industrialised states. For instance, they should regulate markets, especially financial ones, tame tax avoidance and evasion, tackle problems generated by an ageing population, address lifestyle diseases (e.g. smoking, obesity) while respecting individual autonomy, and so forth. In sum, the current difficulties do not mean the end of regulation, but its transformation.

This workshop aims at addressing the political and ethical issues raised by public regulation in two manners. Firstly, papers will be presented on the very principles of public regulation (e.g. the distribution of cooperative gains, the harm principle). Secondly, other papers will engage most specific issues such as the regulation of shadow banking or European competition law. In short, the objective of the workshop will be to gather reflections about the political and ethical principles that should guide public policies when they regulate the activities of autonomous agents.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *