Towards a Kantian Theory of International Distributive Justice

Kantian Review 15 (2):43-77 (2011)
This article examines where Kant stands on the question of the redistribution of wealth and income both nationally and globally. Kant is rightly seen as a radical reformer of the world order from a political standpoint seeking a republican, federative worldwide system; can he also be seen as wanting to bring about an equally dramatic shift from an economic perspective? To answer this question we have first of all to address the question of whether he is an egalitarian or an inegalitarian at the national level. Certainly there are certain social and material inequalities within a civil society Kant is prepared to accept and there are some he is not. This would imply that he would affirm certain inequalities at an international level and that there are others upon which he would recommend action. Thus the question arises as to whether or not it is appropriate for Kantians to regard the current enormous inequalities in wealth and income between individuals living in different parts of the globe as scandalous and in need of change. The paper throughout relates the problem of distributive justice within the state to the problem of distributive justice amongst states, arguing that this approach is warranted by Kant's own method. Particular attention is paid to how Kant's own approach to political philosophy may be deployed to underpin a change to a distinctive type of international distributive justice
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DOI 10.1017/S1369415400002430
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John Rawls (1999). The Law of Peoples. Harvard University Press.
Allen W. Wood (2008). Kantian Ethics. Cambridge University Press.

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