‘… restoring the dignity of the victims’. Is global rectificatory justice feasible?

Ethics and Global Politics 3 (2):85-99 (2010)
The discussion of global justice has mainly focused on global distributive justice. This article argues for global rectificatory justice, mainly by former colonial states in favor of former colonized peoples. The argument depends on the following premises: there is a moral obligation to rectify the consequences of wrongful acts; colonialism was on the whole harmful for the colonies; the present unjust global structure was constituted by colonialism; and the obligation of rectificatory justice is trans-generational so long as there are at present identifiable beneficiaries and victims of past injustice. Although it is too demanding to ask for full compensation for 450 years of colonialism, the former colonial powers can in different ways and to the best of their efforts contribute to change the present inequalities that are the legacy of history. A theory of global rectificatory justice is complementary to a theory of global distributive justice and enables us to develop a fuller understanding of the meaning of global justice. Keywords: global justice; rectification; ethical presentism; colonialism; entitlement; reconciliation; Durban declarations; racism Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2010, pp. 85-99. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v3i2.1996
Keywords Global justice, rectification, ethical presentism, colonialism, entitlement, reconciliation
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DOI 10.3402/egp.v3i2.1996
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