African Philosophers on Global Wealth Distribution

In Gail Presbey, Daniel Smith, Pamela A. Abuya & Oriare Nyarwath (eds.), Thought and Practice in African Philosophy: Selected Papers From the Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society for African Philosophy and Studies (Isaps). Nairobi, Kenya: pp. 283-300 (2002)
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Abstract

H. Odera Oruka responded to Lansana Keita's challenge and used philosophical skills to tackle economic issues. He uses a rights approach (based on the "right to life") to demand a "moral minimum," siding with the 'basic needs approach' in development theory. But, this acceptance of a "minimum" is in conflict with his earlier writings that demand economic equality. Oruka emphasizes rights rather than charity because he thinks the latter is dependent on inducing self-pity, which erodes respect. However, his theory, which leaves production to the economists and redistribution to the philosophers, leaves questions about production and livelihood unanswered. The paper then looks at Segun Gbadegesin's focus on the right to work instead of redistribution issues. The paper concludes by noting that the global economy has become more hostile and moved even further away from solutions proposed by Oruka and Gbadegesin.

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Gail Presbey
University of Detroit Mercy

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