Ethical Perspectives 12 (4):481-496 (2005)

In his Law of Peoples, Rawls severely restricts our duties of justice towards the global poor. Many of his critics have replied that there actually exists a global basic structure and that hence the difference principle applies on a global scale.However the shipwrecked of globalization do not contribute in any substantial way to the creation of global wealth. We show that Martha Nussbaum’s cosmopolitan solution to this problem is unsatisfactory because it ignores scarcity as one of the circumstances of justice.If the marginalized of progress want to raise a claim of justice rather than appeal to our beneficence, they can only do so on the basis of a principle of compensation: their fate has been deteriorated by the development of a global economy they did not ask for. Towards the end of the article we point at some typical blind spots in the treatment of these problems in the literature on international distributive justice: the idea that development problems can be solved merely by transfers of money and the presupposition that the gulf between rich and poor is growing all the time
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DOI 10.2143/EP.12.4.2004794
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