Dissertation, University of Warwick (2011)

Merten Reglitz
University of Birmingham
In this thesis I defend the principle of global egalitarianism. According to this idea most of the existing detrimental inequalities in this world are morally objectionable. As detrimental inequalities I understand those that are not to the benefit of the worst off people and that can be non-wastefully removed. To begin with, I consider various justifications of the idea that only those detrimental inequalities that occur within one and the same state are morally objectionable. I identify Thomas Nagel’s approach as the most promising defence of this traditional position. However, I also show that Nagel’s argument does not even justify the elimination of detrimental inequalities within states. A discussion of the concept of political legitimacy rather shows that egalitarian justice is not a necessary condition of the justifiability of the exercise of coercive political power. I, then, consider other, more Rawlsian approaches to the question of detrimental inequalities. These views appear more plausible than Nagel’s position and argue that egalitarian duties also arise in certain international contexts. But also these more global theories of distributive justice suffer from shortcomings. Since they make the application of duties of justice dependent on the existence of social practices they cannot adequately account for the justified interests of non-participants that are affected by these practices. The counter-intuitive implications of practice-dependent theories lead me to investigate the plausibility of a theory that does not limit justice to existing practices and that argues for the inherent value of equality. This theory is global egalitarianism. I defend global egalitarianism by debilitating three objections that opponents of this idea frequently present in the relevant literature. Finally I also address two particular objections to the idea that global egalitarian duties are institutionalizable with the help of coercive global authorities.
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References found in this work BETA

Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
The Problem of Global Justice.Thomas Nagel - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2):113-147.
Are There Any Natural Rights?H. L. A. Hart - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (2):175-191.
Democratic Theory and Border Coercion.Arash Abizadeh - 2008 - Political Theory 36 (1):37-65.

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