A Kantian Conception of Global Justice

Review of International Studies 37 (05):2043-2057 (2011)

Authors
Helga Varden
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Abstract
I start this paper by addressing Kant’s question why rightful interactions require both domestic public authorities (or states) and a global public authority? Of central importance are two issues: first, the identification of problems insoluble without public authorities, and second, why a domestic public monopoly on coercion can be rightfully established and maintained by coercive means while a global public monopoly on coercion cannot be established once and for all. In the second part of the paper, I address the nature of the institutional structure of individual states and of the global authority. Crucial here, I argue, is Kant’s distinction between private and public right. Private right concerns rightful relations between individual legal subjects, where public right concerns their claims on their public institutions. I propose that the distinction between private and public right should be central to liberal critiques of current legal and political developments in the global sphere.
Keywords Kant  Global Justice  Private right  Public right  systemic justice  poverty  United Nations
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