Moral universalism and global economic justice

Moral universalism centrally involves the idea that the moral assessment of persons and their conduct, of social rules and states of affairs, must be based on fundamental principles that do not, explicitly or covertly, discriminate arbitrarily against particular persons or groups. This general idea is explicated in terms of three conditions. It is then applied to the discrepancy between our criteria of national and global economic justice. Most citizens of developed countries are unwilling to require of the global economic order what they assuredly require of any national economic order, for example, that its rules be under democratic control, that it preclude life-threatening poverty as far as is reasonably possible. Without a plausible justification, such a double standard constitutes covert arbitrary discrimination against the global poor. Key Words: contextualism • corruption • discrimination • Rawls • resource exports • world poverty.
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