Research project Surprisingly, there is very little work on why there ought to be unions, or what they ought to do. Philosophers have neither analyzed of unionism, nor applied normative theories to this part of the economic system. These questions are central in contemporary political debate, which makes it important to examine the normative underpinning of the discussion.
First, why should there be trade unions? This project takes as its starting point the political philosopher John Rawls' theory of justice in order to formulate an argument for why unions are needed and what role they should play in society. The second question is: What should unions do? How should we make trade-offs between higher wages and unemployment, or between young and older people's interests? Finally, what attitude should the state have against unions? Should the state support them, or should it be neutral? This raises fundamental questions about the role of government in society and the economy.