World poverty as a problem of justice? A critical comparison of three approaches

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (1):15 - 36 (2008)
Abstract
With regard to the problem of world poverty, libertarian theories of corrective justice emphasize negative duties and the idea of responsibility whereas utilitarian theories of help concentrate on positive duties based on the capacity of the helper. Thomas Pogge has developed a revised model of compensation that entails positive obligations that are generated by negative duties. He intends to show that the affluent are violating their negative duties to ensure that their conduct will not harm others: They are contributing to and profiting from an unjust global order. But the claim that negative duty generated positive obligations are more acceptable than positive duties is contestable. I examine whether Henry Shue’s model that is integrating negative duties and positive duties is more convincing concerning the foundation of positive duties to protect others. I defend the idea that there are positive duties of justice. This approach can integrate an allocation of positive duties via responsibility and maintain the advantage of an independent foundation of positive duties.
Keywords Negative duties  Pogge  Positive duties  Shue  Subsistence rights  World poverty  Global justice
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