Logo Utrecht University

The Business Corporation as a Political Actor

Publications Chi Kwok

Publications 2021

Towards a Political Theory of Data Justice: A Public Good Perpsective

Chi Kwok and with Ngai Keung Chan (Accepted), “Towards a Political Theory of Data Justice: A Public Good Perpsective” in Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Sociey.

This article develops an interdisciplinary political theory of data justice by (1) connecting three major political theories of the public good with empirical studies about the functions of big data and (2) offering normative principles for restricting and guiding the state’s data practices from a public good perspective. This article argues that market failures, basic rights protection, and deepening democracy can be normative grounds for justifying the state’s right to data collection and utilization, from the perspective of political theories of the public good. The state’s data practices, however, should be guided by three political principles, namely, (1) the principle of transparency and accountability; (2) the principle of fairness; and (3) the principle of democratic legitimacy. The paper draws on empirical studies and practical examples to explicate these principles. Bringing together normative political theory and critical data studies, this article contributes to a more philosophically rigorous understanding of how and why big data should be used for public good purposes, while discussing the normative boundaries of such data practices.

John Rawls and A Theory of Justice in the Age of Neoliberalism

Chi Kwok, (Accepted), “John Rawls and A Theory of Justice in the Age of Neoliberalism” (in Chinese), in Twenty-First Century.

his article is part of a special issue dedicated to celebrating John Rawls’s centenary, frothcoming in the journal Twenty-First Century (https://www.cuhk.edu.hk/ics/21c/en/introduction.html). The article discusses the contributions of A Theory of Justice to debates in economic justice, with a specific focus on the East Asian context. It also discusses the shortcomings of omitting the significant role of the business corporation as a legal person in contemporary economy and how this creates obstacles for tackling problems in the neoliberal economy.

“Guerilla Capitalism and the Platform Economy: Governing Uber in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong”

Chi Kwok and Ngai Keung Chan, “Guerilla Capitalism and the Platform Economy: Governing Uber in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong” in Information, Communication and Society. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2021.1909096

Platforms play an increasingly important role in organizing our economic and political systems globally. Drawing on the varieties of capitalism (VoC) approach and the notion of regulatory entrepreneurship, this article introduces the concept of guerilla capitalism to describe an emerging politically led and economic operative logic of platforms: their profitability relies on the active exploitation of legal gray zones and their ability to harness their network power to openly contest and reshape legislation politically. Through a comparative study of Uber’s operation in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, this article demonstrates that, despite the fact that Uber’s guerilla growth strategy remained strong, its political playbooks resulted in diverse dynamics within different regulatory regimes. The article further explains why its playbook was relatively more effective in the democratic context because the firm could successfully mobilize the fictitious voice of the citizens to legitimize its business. Through these three case studies, this article contributes to the existing literature on platform studies by introducing novel uses of political economy. It also enriches the VoC and platform economy literature by studying the behaviors of platforms in East Asian contexts which exist under separate and specific political regimes.

Publications 2020

“Epistemic injustice in workplace hierarchies: Power, knowledge and status”

Chi Kwok, “Epistemic injustice in workplace hierarchies: Power, knowledge and status” in Philosopy and Social Criticism (2020).

Contemporary workplaces are mostly hierarchical. Intrinsic and extrinsic bads of workplace hierarchies have been widely discussed in the literature on workplace democracy and workplace republicanism. However, a distinctively intrinsic relational bad, epistemic injustice in the workplace, has largely been neglected by both normative theorists of the workplace and theorists of epistemic injustice. This article, by bringing in the insights of Miranda Fricker’s influential conceptualization of epistemic injustice, argues that hierarchical workplaces have contributed to and reinforced both testimonial and hermeneutical injustices in a central activity of most people’s daily lives. This article argues that these injustices are moral wrongs and thus moral injury to the workers. The article concludes by demonstrating that traditional hierarchy is the most epistemically unjust form of hierarchy, while contestatory hierarchy, because of its emphasis on granting the right to the workers to be listened, is less unjust epistemically.