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September 29, 2004

Rawls on global justice

In my recent post on Rawls I mentioned in passing that his famous book A Theory of Justice didn't say much about territory and boundaries, and it wasn't clear whether he intended the redistribution of wealth and income required by his principles of 'justice' to be carried out on a global scale.

In writing this I had forgotten that Rawls dealt with this subject in a subsequent book, The Law of Peoples. In this book Rawls takes a rather traditional view of states as self-contained and independent moral agents. He makes it clear that he does not expect the duty of economic redistribution to extend across international borders.

I haven't read the book, but I'm sure Rawls had some typically ingenious arguments for rejecting redistribution across borders while insisting on redistribution within them! And how very convenient this is for an 'egalitarian' in a wealthy country!

Posted by David B at 03:51 AM