On Global Justice

On Global Justice

Mathias Risse
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    On Global Justice
    Book Description:

    Debates about global justice have traditionally fallen into two camps. Statists believe that principles of justice can only be held among those who share a state. Those who fall outside this realm are merely owed charity. Cosmopolitans, on the other hand, believe that justice applies equally among all human beings.On Global Justiceshifts the terms of this debate and shows how both views are unsatisfactory. Stressing humanity's collective ownership of the earth, Mathias Risse offers a new theory of global distributive justice--what he callspluralist internationalism--where in different contexts, different principles of justice apply.

    Arguing that statists and cosmopolitans seek overarching answers to problems that vary too widely for one single justice relationship, Risse explores who should have how much of what we all need and care about, ranging from income and rights to spaces and resources of the earth. He acknowledges that especially demanding redistributive principles apply among those who share a country, but those who share a country also have obligations of justice to those who do not because of a universal humanity, common political and economic orders, and a linked global trading system. Risse's inquiries about ownership of the earth give insights into immigration, obligations to future generations, and obligations arising from climate change. He considers issues such as fairness in trade, responsibilities of the WTO, intellectual property rights, labor rights, whether there ought to be states at all, and global inequality, and he develops a new foundational theory of human rights.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4550-7
    Subjects: Philosophy, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. CHAPTER 1 The Grounds of Justice
    (pp. 1-20)

    1. When Thomas Hobbes devotedDe Civeto exploring the rights of the state and the duties of its subjects, he set the stage for the next three and a half centuries of political philosophy. Focusing on the confrontation between individual and state meant focusing on a person’s relationship not to particular rulers but to an enduring institution that made exclusive claims to the exercise of certain powers within a domain. Almost two centuries after Hobbes, Hegel took it for granted that political theory was merely an effort to comprehend the state as an inherently rational entity. And 150 years...

  6. Part 1: Shared Citizenship and Common Humanity
    • CHAPTER 2 “Un Pouvoir Ordinaire”: Shared Membership in a State as a Ground of Justice
      (pp. 21-40)

      1. In a little-known 1677 essay, Leibniz has two diplomats wonder about the status of princes of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. These princes had obtained a great deal of independence in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, but they were also beholden to the empire. Were these princes, at least those with sizable territories, “sovereign” or not?¹ To shed light on the empire’s confusing realities, Leibniz distinguishes “Majesté” from “Soveraineté,” the former being the “supreme right to command, or the supreme jurisdiction” (le droit supreme de commander, ou la supreme jurisdiction) and the latter a ruler’s...

    • CHAPTER 3 Internationalism versus Statism and Globalism: Contemporary Debates
      (pp. 41-62)

      1. Chapter 2 characterizes shared membership in a state as a ground of justice and shows how that ground generates demanding principles. The argument there is meant to support internationalism. Internationalism transcends the distinction between relationism and nonrelationism by recognizing both relational and nonrelational grounds. Therefore, I must defend it against three views identifi ed in chapter 1:statism, the view that all principles of justice apply within states, owing to a single ground, a relation among people that is present only within the state; globalism, the view that all such principles apply globally, owing to a single ground, a relation...

    • CHAPTER 4 What Follows from Our Common Humanity? The Institutional Stance, Human Rights, and Nonrelationism
      (pp. 63-86)

      1. In 2000, the UN General Assembly committed governments to eradicating extreme poverty by adopting the Millennium Development Goals.¹ Two years later, the High-Level Panel on Financing for Development insisted that no country could expect to meet these goals

      unless it focuses on building effective domestic institutions and adopting sound policies including: Governance that is based on participation and the rule of law, with a strong focus on combating corruption; disciplined macroeconomic policies; a public expenditure profile that gives priority to investment in human capital, especially basic education and health, the rural sector, and women; a financial system that intermediates...

  7. Part 2: Common Ownership of the Earth
    • CHAPTER 5 Hugo Grotius Revisited: Collective Ownership of the Earth and Global Public Reason
      (pp. 87-107)

      1. In part 1 of this book we encountered two grounds of justice, one relational (membership in states) and one nonrelational (common humanity). Part 2 explores another nonrelational ground: humanity’s collective ownership of the earth. The distribuendum is the resources and spaces of the earth. We discuss principles that regulate this distribuendum in chapters 7–10. Chapters 5 and 6 address foundational questions. Although common humanity has received more attention than collective ownership, it is reflection on collective ownership that turns out to be philosophically more fruitful. Like common humanity, it will not get us as far as nonrelationists might...

    • CHAPTER 6 “Our Sole Habitation”: A Contemporary Approach to Collective Ownership of the Earth
      (pp. 108-129)

      1. Alongside others preoccupied with collective ownership of the earth, Grotius held that God hadgiventhe earth to humankind in common. In his eighteenth-century treatise on English common law, William Blackstone considered this donation “the only true and solid foundation of man’s dominion over external things, whatever airy metaphysical notions may have been started by fanciful writers upon this subject” (1979, 3). But the view that the earth originally belongs to humankind collectively is plausible not only without “airy metaphysical notions” but also entirely without religious input. To ask about “original” ownership is to ask whether (“ original” or...

    • CHAPTER 7 Toward a Contingent Derivation of Human Rights
      (pp. 130-151)

      1. Chapters 7–10 discuss various topics from the standpoint of Common Ownership: human rights, immigration, duties to future generations, and duties arising from climate change. In preparation, and with the benefit of our discussion in chapter 6, this chapter begins by exploring the role that reflection about original ownership can play in political philosophy. The remainder makes a connection between collective ownership of the earth and human rights.

      Let me elaborate on three themes to help illuminate the nature of our subsequent inquiries and thus the philosophical interest in collective ownership. To begin, there are two reasons why we...

    • CHAPTER 8 Proportionate Use: Immigration and Original Ownership of the Earth
      (pp. 152-166)

      1. Most debates about immigration concern policies of specific nations. What is “best” for a country turns on conflicting cultural, political, or economic views, and what is beneficial from any such viewpoint for one segment of the population might not be for others.¹ But most stances regard immigration as a privilege and fail to ask about duties to would-be immigrants. We now explore whether the physical aspect of immigration provides constraints on immigration policy.² The fact that the earth is originally collectively owned must affect how communities can regulate access to what they occupy. In the nineteenth century, Henry Sidgwick’s...

    • CHAPTER 9 “But the Earth Abideth For Ever”: Obligations to Future Generations
      (pp. 167-186)

      1. Generations of humans occupy the earth successively. Earlier generations’ eagerness to shape the future in their own image has greatly helped later comers. Throughout history, many societies have also recognized duties toward future generations. However, earlier mistakes might cost later generations dearly.¹ Human beings have long been able to undermine their chances of survival in their surroundings, but, as Rachel Carson writes inSilent Spring, “Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species—man—acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world” (1962, 5). It is sometimes even said that we...

    • CHAPTER 10 Climate Change and Ownership of the Atmosphere
      (pp. 187-206)

      1. Naturally occurring greenhouse gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane, form a thermal blanket that traps sun energy inside the atmosphere and thereby makes the earth inhabitable in the first place. However, in recent centuries human activities have greatly increased greenhouse gas concentrations. Considerable quantities of carbon dioxide have resulted from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas, which generate most of the world’s energy) and from deforestation. Increasing evaporation of water amplifies the warming effects of these gases by causing larger greenhouse effects than combustion and deforestation alone. The result is global climate change.

      On average,...

  8. Part 3: International Political and Economic Structures
    • CHAPTER 11 Human Rights as Membership Rights in the Global Order
      (pp. 207-231)

      1. So far we have developed pluralist internationalism by considering what principles of justice hold within states, in virtue of relations shared by their members, and what principles hold globally, in virtue not of specific relations or institutions but of more fundamental features of all human beings, such as their sharing a distinctively human life or living on a particular planet. Part 3 now continues the development of my pluralist view by considering what principles apply globally in virtue of specific relations and institutions that now hold in a globalized era among people around the world.

      We have already done...

    • CHAPTER 12 Arguing for Human Rights: Essential Pharmaceuticals
      (pp. 232-244)

      1. Legally speaking, there arguably is a human right to vital pharmaceuticals, such as those on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines. However, while lawyers explore what such a right amounts to practically or, say, whether it conflicts with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), our concern is to explore whether philosophical approaches deliver a human right to pharmaceuticals, specifically, whether my conception of human rights as membership rights in the global order does (according to some source that it recognizes).¹ This is a case study of how to apply my conception to questions...

    • CHAPTER 13 Arguing for Human Rights: Labor Rights as Human Rights
      (pp. 245-260)

      1. Labor rights appear in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are covered by the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.¹ In its 1993 Vienna Declaration, the UN insisted that “all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated” (Article 5). As far as the UN is concerned, labor rights are human rights, as much as any other rights identified in the Universal Declaration. Yet labor rights are the first to be questioned in philosophical inquiries, notoriously so Article 24, which addresses “rest and leisure,” “reasonable limitations of working hours,” and “periodic holidays with pay.” Allen...

    • CHAPTER 14 Justice and Trade
      (pp. 261-278)

      1. Part 3 of this book develops pluralist internationalism by exploring what principles of justice apply globally in virtue of the specific relations among people that hold in an increasingly interconnected world. Chapters 11–13 have investigated one way in which global relations anchor such a principle, by being the basis for human rights. Let us now change tracks and consider what justice requires for international trade. This involves us in two separate problems: first, what follows about trade from the human rights–oriented principles we have already encountered, and second, whether any new and distinct principles of justice arise...

  9. Part 4: Global Justice and Institutions
    • CHAPTER 15 The Way We Live Now
      (pp. 279-303)

      1. I have finished presenting my account of the grounds of justice (except that chapter 18 will revisit our discussion of trade, by looking at the WTO). In the course of developing pluralist internationalism I have explored five grounds: shared membership in states, common humanity, humanity’s collective ownership of the earth, membership in the global order, and subjection to the global trading system. According to the vision of the just world that this approach proposes, broadly Rawlsian principles apply within states. Globally, everyone has access to original resources and spaces, or is provided with other means to satisfy her basic...

    • CHAPTER 16 “Imagine There’s No Countries”: A Reply to John Lennon
      (pp. 304-324)

      1. In chapter 15 we began to consider this question: Is there any successful argument for the claim that there morally ought to be no states at all, or just a single, global state, rather than the world of multiple states in which we live now? I explored four strategies one might deploy (a) to identify moral flaws of the state system and (b) to use these flaws to show that there ought to be no such system. This chapter offers a framework for, and then systematically develops, a sweeping objection to any attempt to argue toward the conclusion that,...

    • CHAPTER 17 Justice and Accountability: The State
      (pp. 325-345)

      1. We have seen that that there are no successful arguments to the conclusion that there ought to be no states or that there ought to be a global state. We have therefore repelled a worry (articulated at the beginning of chapter 15) that my theory only spells out what justice requires in a world with an institutional structure (multiple states) it would be better to be rid of. Instead, my theory spells out what justice requires given an institutional structure that is morally justified in a moderate sense and to which we cannot clearly imagine an alternative. Rather than...

    • CHAPTER 18 Justice and Accountability: The World Trade Organization
      (pp. 346-360)

      1. In chapter 17 we saw that it is international organizations or other entities of global administrative law that can most plausibly provide the context in which states give account to noncitizens of their contributions to justice.¹ Chapter 17 left it at a mere sketch of that point. One goal of this concluding chapter is to explore whether a suitably reformed version of the WTO could help states fulfi ll their obligation to give an account of what they do to realize the various principles of justice, to the extent that those principles are concerned with or bear on trade....

  10. Notes
    (pp. 361-414)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 415-452)
  12. Index
    (pp. 453-465)