Global justice from outside-the-box
MetadataShow full item record
We live in a severely unequal world. Pressing questions are, then, what changes the global advantaged should bring about to improve the situation of the global disadvantaged, and why they should do so in the first place. Chapters 1, 2 and 3 answer the latter question whereas chapters 4 and 5 answer the former. Chapter 1 considers Peter Singer’s ‘non-relationist’ and Thomas Pogge’s ‘relationist’ approaches to global justice. The chapter argues that Pogge’s argument is more compelling than Singer’s, but that it is incomplete. To make a relationist argument more plausible, the chapter draws on two critical social theorists: Alf Hornborg and David Harvey. Based on their analyses, and employing the perspectives of ‘human time’ and ‘ecological space’, the chapter concludes that the advantaged are in violation of a stringent negative duty by being complicit in the harmful global system. The chapter also introduces two kinds of debt – ‘temporal debt’ and ‘ecological debt’ – that the advantaged may owe the disadvantaged. Chapter 2 argues that the global system is not only harmful but severely harmful: it is likely to reproduce ‘absolute harm’ (a harm that infringes upon minimum human well-being). Chapter 3 discusses what positive action the advantaged ought to take because of the negative-duty violation and the problem-solving ability they have. Focusing on two kinds of action – reparation and remedy – the chapter argues that achieving reparation may face practical problems, but that the advantaged should act immediately to provide remedy – in particular, institutional remedy – for the disadvantaged. In doing so, the chapter commends the ‘advantaged remedy’ principle. Chapters 4 and 5 consider remedial institutions which the advantaged should strive to create and uphold. Chapter 4 focuses on one which we already have: the UN Global Compact. The chapter argues that this institution is necessary in the light of present global circumstances and also advances a set of principles appropriate to protect minimum human well-being. But it concludes that this reformist institution may turn out to be insufficient. Based on this conclusion, chapter 5 supports a more radical proposal: a market-socialist proposal offered by Leslie Sklair. Sklair’s account, however, does not explain why it is market socialism, rather than a non-market alternative, that should be pursued. Neither does it show how market-socialist institutions would remedy the global-systemic problems that are likely to afflict the disadvantaged. The chapter offers answers to these questions by drawing on David Miller (for the first question) and David Schweickart (for the second question). The chapter then argues that market socialism, if accompanied by an appropriate ethos, would serve to remedy the situation of the global disadvantaged. Meanwhile, the shift to market socialism would, and should, take time. So, this project concludes by considering a supplementary institution that may need to be implemented in the meantime: an ecological space tax.