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Global Economic Justice, Partiality, and Coercion

  • Bruce Landesman
Part of the The Philosophical Foundations of Law and Justice book series (AMIN, volume 2)

My subject is global economic justice, the division of economic resources among human beings. Questions of non-economic justice involving rights to security, liberty of action, freedom of speech, religion, and political participation, will come into the picture now and then. But my central focus is economic justice.

Two liberal views about global economic justice are currently being debated by political philosophers. Cosmopolitanism holds that the most basic principles of economic justice apply directly to individuals across the globe, and require a just division of economic resources among all human beings. As Kok-Chor Tan puts it,

principles of justice ought to transcend nationality and citizenship, and ought to apply equally to all individuals of the world as a whole…cosmopolitan justice is justice without borders.

The other view—let’s call it Liberal Nationalism—holds that the most basic principles of economic justice apply to individuals only within particular societies. Economic justice is first and foremost about the division of resources within a sovereign state. It is ‘domestic’, rather than ‘global’. Principles of global economic justice exist, but they primarily focus on relationships among states, not among individuals.

Keywords

Prima Facie Economic Inequality Relative Deprivation Economic Justice Special Obligation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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    Kok-Chor Tan, Justice Without Borders (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 1.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Perhaps the first use of this phrase is in Yael Tamir, Liberal Nationalism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993). Tan, op. cit. follows this usage. The same theory is called Social Liberalism by Charles Beitz, “Social and Cosmopolitan Liberalism”, International Affairs, v. 75, 1999: pp. 515–530. Thomas Nagel calls it the Political Conception of Global Justice in “The Problem of Global Justice”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, v. 33, 2005: p. 120. This is his name for the sort of theory put forward by John Rawls in The Law of Peoples (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999). The Rawlsian account has recently been defended by David Reidy in “Rawls on International Justice: A Defense”, Political Theory, v. 32, 2004: pp. 291–319, and “A Just Global Economy: In defense of Rawls”, Journal of Ethics, v. 11, 2007: pp. 193–236.Google Scholar
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    This is a simple statement of liberal nationalism. Some complexities will be addressed below.Google Scholar
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    Ronald Dworkin has made “treatment as an equal” central to the liberal idea. For an early expression of this see “Liberalism”, in Stuart Hampshire, Public and Private Morality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
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    John Rawls, The Law of Peoples, op. cit., p. 14.Google Scholar
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    Blake sometimes refers to principles all rational persons could consent to; sometimes to principles no one could reasonably reject. The distinction between these two ways of putting the matter was introduced by T. M. Scanlon, “Conractualism and Utilitarianism”, in Amartya Sen and Bernard Williams eds., Utilitarianism and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). See also Scanlon’s What We Owe to Each Other (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), esp. chs. 3 and 4. The distinction between these formulations is not important for either Blake’s discussion or mine.Google Scholar
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    Thomas Pogge, “A Global Resources Dividend”, in David A. Crocker & Toby Linden eds., Ethics of Consumption: The Good Life, Justice and Global Stewardship (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998), pp. 501–536.Google Scholar
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    Samuel Scheffler has carefully examined this tension in morality in “Nationalism, Liberalism and the State”, in Robert McKim and Jeff McMahan eds., The Morality of Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 192–208.Google Scholar
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    Nagel, op. cit., p. 128. For a similar argument see also David Miller, On Nationality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Landesman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of UtahUSA

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