Global justice and the limits of human rights

Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221):562–581 (2005)
Abstract
To a great extent, recent discussion of global obligations has been couched in the language of human rights. I argue that this is a mistake. If, as many theorists have supposed, a normative theory applicable to obligations of global justice must also respect the needs of justice internal to recipient nations, any such theory cannot take human rights as an important moral notion. Human rights are inapplicable for the domestic justice of poor nations, and thus cannot form a plausible basis for international justice. Instead, I propose an alternative basis, a form of welfarist maximizing consequentialism. My alternative is superior to rights-based theories in dealing with the special problems of justice found in poor nations
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