Liberal internationalism and global social justice

Journal of Global Ethics 5 (2):97-108 (2009)
Theories of global justice have moved from issues relating to crimes against humanity and war crimes or, furthermore, ?negative duties? with respect to non-citizens, towards problems of distributive justice and global inequality. Thomas Nagel's Storrs Lectures from 2005, exemplifying Rawlsian internationalism, argue that liberal requirements concerning duties of distributive justice apply exclusively within a single nation-state, and do not extend to duties of this nature between rich and poor countries. Nagel even argues that the demand for global equality is not a demand of justice at all. In the present article I will try to offer a normative basis for the criticism of such a view. Following Kant and more recently Philip Pettit, I locate this normative basis on political freedom conceived as non-domination. Such a conception opens up the possibility of a political cosmopolitanism, which is based not on an empirical interdependence among people at a global level, but on a normative interdependence. Subsequent cosmopolitan duties extend both to the elimination of domination everywhere in the world and to the equal enjoyment of non-dominated choice. Thus, it will be argued that modern republicanism is falsely identified with a particular, bounded community, but supports a political, not simply a moral, cosmopolitanism. This kind of cosmopolitanism conceives of sovereign states neither as useless constructions, nor as mere instruments for realizing the pre-institutional value of justice among human beings. Instead, their existence is what gives the value of justice its application. Cosmopolitanism is not after all about the abolishment of all boundaries, but about the essential capacity to draw and redraw them infinitely under conditions of global justice
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    Thomas Nagel (2005). The Problem of Global Justice. Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2):113–147.

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