The limits of liberal cosmopolitanism

Res Publica 10 (2):175-192 (2004)
Abstract
The essay critically reviews two recent contributions to the debate on global justice made by Darrel Moellendorf and Thomas Pogge respectively. Given both authors’ acknowledgement of the substantial contributions which liberal economic practice currently makes to ever-increasing levels of global deprivation and injustice, can we continue to assume with confidence that liberal morality is capable of providing the solution? It is a central claim of the essay that both authors are able to sustain this optimistic assumption only because of their abstraction of liberal morality from its statist political and competitive economic settings. Were these settings to be taken into account, some liberal values might be shown to be less universalisable than they are routinely assumed to be. In that case, we should not argue, implausibly, for the extension of these values to the global context, but should focus on their critical revision in the context of mature liberal societies’ domestic politics
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