What Second-Best Scenarios Reveal about Ideals of Global Justice

In Thom Brooks (ed.), Oxford Handbook to Global Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2020)
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Abstract

While there need be no conflict in theory between addressing global inequality (inequalities between people worldwide) and addressing domestic inequality (inequalities between people within a political community), there may be instances in which the feasible mechanism for reducing global inequality risks aggravating domestic inequality. The burgeoning literature on global justice has tended to overlook this type of scenario, and theorists espousing global egalitarianism have consequently not engaged with cases that are important for evaluating and clarifying the content of their theories. This chapter explores potential tensions between promoting global and domestic inequality. We introduce a class of second-best scenarios that global justice theorists have neglected to demonstrate the importance of such scenarios as an aid to constructing and evaluating ideals of global justice.

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Author Profiles

David Wiens
University of California, San Diego
Christian Barry
Australian National University

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