Families and the ethic of globordered markets

Daphna Hacker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this Article, I examine the ethical implications of the impact of what I term globordered markets-that is, the markets created by the intense interactions between national borders and globalization-on families. While the interrelations between "the family" and "the market" have been acknowledged ever since Engels pointed to the connection between private property and the patriarchal family, and more recently in the rich discussions over work-family balance, there remains much more to be explored in this moral domain. In particular, very little scholarly attention has been given to how families are affected by both the global market and the impact of the global human rights discourse on local markets-and to the ethical concerns these effects raise. I will analyze two important phenomena to demonstrate my argument that any discussion on the ethical challenges of the market must include deep empirical understanding and complex normative contemplation regarding the impact of bordered globalization on families. Both phenomena relate to the question of meeting the basic needs of children in the poorest parts of the world. The first example is the phenomenon, relatively new in its scope and intensity, of parents who leave for another country without their children, to send remittances back home. The second example is that of child labor, common in many parts of the Global South. While the former is constructed by international law, as well as by scholastic and broader discourses, as ethically non-problematic, the latter is conceived and fought-against by the international community as an evil that must be eliminated. By looking at empirical studies of both, through an ethic of parent-child relations that places parental nurturing care at its core, I argue that the judgmental gaze should be reversed. I will suggest in this Article that parental emigration indeed is very problematic and that ignoring its impact on the children left behind stands in sharp contradiction of the norm of parental involvement advanced in the Global North. As to child labor, I will contend that, when shaped as a non-abusive addition to effective schooling, it should be perceived as a legitimate manifestation of parental nurturing care and, as such, be legally allowed. These stances highlight the centrality of families in the construction and operation of local and global markets, as well as the impact of these markets on families-hence the need, I contend, for scholars and policymakers to take proper account of familiality when contemplating the ethical dimensions of these markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-769
Number of pages25
JournalCornell journal of law and public policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


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