Politics, Philosophy and Economics 8 (3):291-309 (2009)
Michael Walzer has argued that `distributive justice presupposes a bounded world', but what counts as a relevant boundary? The article criticizes two arguments holding that boundaries should not count at all: a negative argument that there is no relevant difference between human relationships within and across state borders and a positive argument that principles of justice must, as a matter of logic, be universal in scope. It then examines three rival accounts of the bounded scope of distributive justice : the cooperative practice view, the political coercion view, and the common identity view. Although each has plausible arguments to support it, none turns out to give necessary and sufficient conditions for principles of distributive justice to apply. Importantly, however, the idea of social justice has emerged within political units that to a large extent combine the three features in question. To the extent that this overlap breaks down, we will need to develop new theories of transnational justice
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