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Keywords:

  • exploitation;
  • research ethics;
  • fairness;
  • international research;
  • risk assessment;
  • benefit assesment;
  • social justice

ABSTRACT

This paper challenges the fitness of Angela Ballantyne's proposed theory of exploitation by situating her ‘fair risk account’ in an ongoing dialogue about the adequacy conditions for benchmarks of fairness. It identifies four adequacy conditions: (1) the ability to focus on level rather than type of benefit; (2) the ability to focus on micro-level rather than macro-level fairness; (3) the ability to prevent discrimination based on need; and (4) the ability to prescribe a certain distribution as superior to all others. While the fair risk account satisfies the first condition, this paper argues that it has difficulty satisfying the last three conditions. Ballantyne's proposal includes several new and promising features, but in order for the fair risk account to be useful in identifying and preventing exploitation, Ballantyne must either clarify and augment her theory or challenge the relevance of the adequacy conditions it fails to meet.