In this article, we propose the Fair Priority Model for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and emphasize three fundamental values we believe should be considered when distributing a COVID-19 vaccine among countries: Benefiting people and limiting harm, prioritizing the disadvantaged, and equal moral concern for all individuals. The Priority Model addresses these values by focusing on mitigating three types of harms caused by COVID-19: death and permanent organ damage, indirect health consequences, such as health care system strain and stress, as well as (...) economic destruction. It proposes proceeding in three phases: the first addresses premature death, the second long-term health issues and economic harms, and the third aims to contain viral transmission fully and restore pre-pandemic activity. -/- To those who may deem an ethical framework irrelevant because of the belief that many countries will pursue "vaccine nationalism," we argue such a framework still has broad relevance. Reasonable national partiality would permit countries to focus on vaccine distribution within their borders up until the rate of transmission is below 1, at which point there would not be sufficient vaccine-preventable harm to justify retaining a vaccine. When a government reaches the limit of national partiality, it should release vaccines for other countries. -/- We also argue against two other recent proposals. Distributing a vaccine proportional to a country's population mistakenly assumes that equality requires treating differently situated countries identically. Prioritizing countries according to the number of front-line health care workers, the proportion of the population over 65, and the number of people with comorbidities within each country may exacerbate disadvantage and end up giving the vaccine in large part to wealthy nations. (shrink)
The cosmopolitan idea of justice is commonly accused of not taking seriously the special ties and commitments of nationality and patriotism. This is because the ideal of impartial egalitarianism, which is central to the cosmopolitan view, seems to be directly opposed to the moral partiality inherent to nationalism and patriotism. In this book, Kok-Chor Tan argues that cosmopolitan justice, properly understood, can accommodate and appreciate nationalist and patriotic commitments, setting limits for these commitments without denying their moral significance. This book (...) offers a defense of cosmopolitan justice against the charge that it denies the values that ordinarily matter to people, and a defence of nationalism and patriotism against the charge that these morally partial ideals are fundamentally inconsistent with the obligations of global justice. Accessible and persuasive, this book will have broad appeal to political theorists and moral philosophers. (shrink)
Kok-Chor Tan addresses three key questions in political philosophy: Where does distributive equality matter? Why does it matter? And among whom does it matter? He argues for an institutional site for egalitarian justice, a luck-egalitarian ideal of why equality matters, and a global scope for distributive justice.
All parties involved in researching, developing, manufacturing, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines need guidance on their ethical obligations. We focus on pharmaceutical companies' obligations because their capacities to research, develop, manufacture, and distribute vaccines make them uniquely placed for stemming the pandemic. We argue that an ethical approach to COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution should satisfy four uncontroversial principles: optimising vaccine production, including development, testing, and manufacturing; fair distribution; sustainability; and accountability. All parties' obligations should be coordinated and mutually consistent. For (...) instance, companies should not be obligated to provide host countries with additional booster shots at the expense of fulfilling bilateral contracts with countries in which there are surges. Finally, any satisfactory approach should include mechanisms for assurance that all parties are honouring their obligations. This assurance enables countries, pharmaceutical companies, global organisations, and others to verify compliance with the chosen approach and protect ethically compliant stakeholders from being unfairly exploited by unethical behaviour of others. (shrink)
Are countries especially entitled, if not obliged, to prioritize the interests or well-being of their own citizens during a global crisis, such as a global pandemic? We call this partiality for compatriots in times of crisis “crisis nationalism”. Vaccine nationalism is one vivid example of crisis nationalism during the COVID-19 pandemic; so is the case of the US government’s purchasing a 3-month supply of the global stock of the antiviral Remdesivir for domestic use. Is crisis nationalism justifiable at all, and, (...) if it is, what are its limits? We examine some plausible arguments for national partiality, and conclude that these arguments support crisis nationalism only within strict limits. The different arguments for partiality, as we will note, arrive at these limits for different reasons. But more generally, so we argue, any defensible crisis nationalism must not entail the violation of human rights or the worsening of people’s deprivation. Moreover, we propose that good faith crisis nationalism ought to be sensitive to the potential moral costs of national partiality during a global crisis and must take extra care to control or offset these costs. Thus, crisis nationalism in the form of vaccine nationalism or the hoarding of global supplies of therapeutics during a global pandemic exceeds the bounds of acceptable partiality. (shrink)
Debates on humanitarian intervention have focused on the permissibility question. In this paper, I ask whether intervention can be a moral duty, and if it is a moral duty, how this duty is to be distributed and assigned. With respect to the first question, I contemplate whether an intervention that has met the "permissibility" condition is also for this reason necessary and obligatory. If so, the gap between permission and obligation closes in the case of humanitarian intervention. On the second (...) question, I propose 'institutionalizing" the duty to intervene. In this way, an otherwise imperfect obligation to intervene can be made "perfect" and specific to some agent. (shrink)
COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be scarce for years to come. Many countries, from India to the U.K., have demonstrated vaccine nationalism. What are the ethical limits to this vaccine nationalism? Neither extreme nationalism nor extreme cosmopolitanism is ethically justifiable. Instead, we propose the fair priority for residents framework, in which governments can retain COVID-19 vaccine doses for their residents only to the extent that they are needed to maintain a noncrisis level of mortality while they are implementing reasonable public (...) health interventions. Practically, a noncrisis level of mortality is that experienced during a bad influenza season, which society considers an acceptable background risk. Governments take action to limit mortality from influenza, but there is no emergency that includes severe lockdowns. This “flu-risk standard” is a nonarbitrary and generally accepted heuristic. Mortality above the flu-risk standard justifies greater governmental interventions, including retaining vaccines for a country's own citizens over global need. The precise level of vaccination needed to meet the flu-risk standard will depend upon empirical factors related to the pandemic. This links the ethical principles to the scientific data emerging from the emergency. Thus, the FPR framework recognizes that governments should prioritize procuring vaccines for their country when doing so is necessary to reduce mortality to noncrisis flu-like levels. But after that, a government is obligated to do its part to share vaccines to reduce risks of mortality for people in other countries. We consider and reject objections to the FPR framework based on a country: having developed a vaccine, raising taxes to pay for vaccine research and purchase, wanting to eliminate economic and social burdens, and being ineffective in combating COVID-19 through public health interventions. (shrink)
The "comprehensive liberalism" defended in this book offers an alternative to the narrower "political liberalism" associated with the writings of John Rawls. By arguing against making tolerance as fundamental a value as individual autonomy, and extending the reach of liberalism to global society, it opens the way for dealing more adequately with problems of human rights and economic inequality in a world of cultural pluralism.
This chapter examines two basic philosophical challenges for the idea of reparations for past injustices (using colonialism as the focal point). The first challenge is that requiring people today to make reparations for an injustice they themselves did not commit is unfair. The second is that if reparative claims are invoked because of lingering injustices, then recalling the past is in fact normatively redundant if lingering present injustices can be handled by forward-looking principles. In response to the first challenge, I (...) argue that the unfairness worry is deflected if we adopt a collectivist-model of responsibility, ie, one that holds states instead of individuals to be the responsible actor. Against the redundancy objection, I suggest that reparative arguments can supplement and reinforce forward-looking distributive principles. (shrink)
Luck egalitarianism provides one powerful way of defending global egalitarianism. The basic luck egalitarian idea that persons ought not to be disadvantaged compared to others on account of his or her bad luck seems to extend naturally to the global arena, where random factors such as persons’ place of birth and the natural distribution of the world’s resources do affect differentially their life chances. Yet luck egalitarianism as an ideal, as well as its global application, has come under severe criticisms (...) in recent debate. My aim in this article is to restore plausibility to the luck egalitarian idea, and to suggest how it could then provide a plausible grounding for global egalitarianism. To do this, I will propose a more modest but also more defensible conception of luck egalitarianism that can also strengthen the case for global distributive justice. (shrink)
Kant divides moral duties into duties of virtue and duties of justice. Duties of virtue are imperfect duties, the fulfillment of which is left to agent discretion and so cannot be externally demanded of one. Duties of justice, while perfect, seem to be restricted to negative duties (of nondeception and noncoercion). It may seem then that Kant's moral philosophy cannot meet the demands of global justice. I argue, however, that Kantian justice when applied to the social and historical realities of (...) the world can generate positive duties to promote and provide for the well being of others. (shrink)
Many liberals have argued that a cosmopolitan perspective on global justice follows from the basic liberal principles of justice. Yet, increasingly, it is also said that intrinsic to liberalism is a doctrine of nationalism. This raises a potential problem for the liberal defense of cosmopolitan justice as it is commonly believed that nationalism and cosmopolitanism are conflicting ideals. If this is correct, there appears to be a serious tension within liberal philosophy itself, between its cosmopolitan aspiration on the one hand, (...) and its nationalist agenda on the other. I argue, however, that this alleged conflict between liberal nationalism and cosmopolitan liberalism disappears once we get clear on the scope and goals of cosmopolitan justice and the parameters of liberal nationalism. Liberal nationalism and cosmopolitan global justice, properly understood, are mutually compatible ideals. (shrink)
I argue that an account of national responsibility, as both collective and inheritable, that allows for making sense of holding nations responsible as an entity for past international injustices and to make reparations for these injustices is not at odds with the demands of global egalitarianism. A global distributive commitment does not deny this account of national responsibility; to the contrary, we can properly appreciate the scope of national responsibility only in light of what global justice truly demands. Thus while (...) I agree with David Miller that we can hold nations accountable for past international injustices, I do not agree with Miller that this is in tension with global egalitarianism. (shrink)
I outline what I call a relational account of toleration. This relational account helps explain the apparent paradox of toleration in that it involves two competing moral stances, of acceptance and disapproval, towards the tolerated. It also helps clarify the way toleration is a normative ideal, and not a position one is forced into out of the practical need to accommodate or accept. Specifically, toleration is recommended out of respect for that which the tolerant agent also disapproves of. This combination (...) of respect entangled with disapproval results from two different evaluative perspectives of the tolerant agent. The relational account explains how an agent can hold these competing evaluative perspectives. I also discuss the proper scope of state toleration under this relational account. (shrink)
Liberal nationalism is a boundary‐making project, and a feature of this boundary‐making enterprise is the belief that the compatriots have a certain priority over strangers. For this reason it is often thought that liberal nationalism cannot be compatible with the demands of global egalitarianism. In this essay, I examine the sense in which liberal nationalism privileges compatriots, and I argue that, properly understood, the idea of partiality for compatriots in the context of liberal nationalism is not at odds with global (...) equal concern for all persons. In particular, I argue that the three central goals and aspirations of liberal nationalism—promoting individual autonomy and cultural identity, the realization of deliberative democracy, and the aspiration for social justice within the state—do not entail or require a form of compatriot partiality that is inconsistent with the demands of global egalitarian justice. (shrink)
Two classes of arguments are often deployed by the anti-global egalitarians against attempts to universalize the demands of distributive equality. One are arguments attempting to show that global egalitarians have misconstrued the reasons for why equality matters domestically, and hence have wrongly extended these reasons to the global arena. These arguments hold that the boundary of distributive justice is effectively coextensive with the boundaries of state. The other are arguments that attempt to show that membership in political societies generates special (...) duties among members that may outweigh the demands of global egalitarianism. These arguments appeal to the ethical significance of state boundaries and membership. In my defense of global egalitarianism, I reject both the attempts to limit the boundary of justice and the attempts to give state boundaries special moral significance and priority. In particular, I will argue that the boundary of justice cannot coincide with the boundaries of states when the justice of the boundaries is at issue. (shrink)
The polluter pays principle (PPP) has the form of a reparative principle. It holds that since some countries have historically contributed more to global warming than others, these countries have the follow-up responsibility now to do more to address climate change. Yet in the climate justice debate, PPP is often rejected for two reasons. First, so the objection goes, it wrongly burdens present-day individuals because the actions of their predecessors. This is the unfairness objection. The second objection is that early (...) polluters were not aware of the harm that they were doing, and so ought not to be held culpable. This is the objection from excusable ignorance. In this commentary, I defend PPP against these two objections. The aim of this short reflection is not to provide a full justification of PPP, or to respond to all objections that have been made against it. My more limited but, I hope, important goal is to show that PPP is neither immediately unfair (in making innocent parties pay) nor immediately unreasonable (in making excusably ignorant parties pay) as is commonly noted, and is therefore worthy of further consideration as a principle of climate justice. (shrink)
This paper proposes a problem-based approach to theorizing about global justice as opposed to what I call a paradigm-based approach. The latter confronts questions of global justice from an established ideal of justice normally constructed for the domestic context. The problem-based approach engages global justice issues without the presumption that that they must be accessible from an established (domestic) framework of justice. One advantage of the problem-based approach is that it does not foreclose engagement with practical matters (by defining some (...) issues, such as global equality, as non-problems); another is that it has a more reflective and revisionary approach to theorizing about justice (as when new challenges compel re-examination of our established theories of justice). (shrink)
_What is this thing called Global Justice?_ explores the core topics covered on the increasingly popular undergraduate modules on global justice including: world poverty economic inequality nationalism human rights humanitarian intervention immigration global democracy and governance climate change international justice. Centered on real world problems, this textbook helps students to understand that global justice is not only a field of philosophical inquiry but also of practical importance. Each chapter concludes with a helpful summary of the main ideas discussed, study questions (...) and a further reading guide. (shrink)
How should liberal societies respond to nonliberal ones? In this paper I examine John Rawls’s conception of international toleration against what is sometimes called a cosmopolitan one. Rawls holds that a just international order should recognize certain nonliberal societies, to which he refers as decent peoples, as equal members in good standing in a just society of peoples. It would be a violation of liberalism’s own principle of toleration to deny the international legitimacy of decent peoples who, among other things, (...) affirm human rights and accept peaceful coexistence with other societies. According to the cosmopolitan idea of international toleration, on the contrary, only societies that are liberal in character meet the criteria for toleration. I suggest that, against the Rawlsian conception of international toleration, the cosmopolitan idea is more consistent with the fundamentals of liberal political morality. I then clarify the ways in which cosmopolitan toleration is not worryingly interventionist even as it is not altogether toothless; and I end with some reflections on why cosmopolitism is not morally imperialistic. (shrink)
This review essay on John Rawls’s The Law of Peoples focuses on two of its more contentious claims. The first is that international economic justice is secured by a principle of assistance and that a principle of distributive justice will in fact have “unacceptable” results. The other is that certain non-liberal societies, or peoples, fall within the limits of international toleration. The essay evaluates and critiques these claims from a liberal cosmopolitan perspective.
It is commonly believed that people have special obligations to their compatriots that are both distinct from and stronger than the general duties they owe to individuals at large. Thus, it is often thought that these special obligations may legitimately limit what global distributive justice can demand of people, including those from well-off countries. Henceforth by special obligations, I mean specifically special obligations to com- patriots, which I will also call patriotic obligations, or patriotism for short.
In response to commentators, we argue that whether waiving patent rights will meaningfully improve access to COVID-19 vaccines for low income and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly in the short term, is an empirical matter. We also reject preferentially allocating vaccines to countries that hosted trials because doing so unethically favours those with research infrastructure, rather than those facing the worst burdens from COVID-19.
IntroductionThe various special concerns and commitments that individuals ordinarily have, for example towards family members, friends, and possibly compatriots, present an interesting challenge for justice. Justice, after all, is said to be blind and imposes demands on persons that ought to be impartial, at least in some respects, to personal ties and relationships. Yet individual special concerns are obviously of moral importance and are deeply valued by participants in these relationships. Thus any conception of justice to be plausible has to (...) be able to accommodate to some extent the various types of valuable and valued special concern characteristic of ordinary social life. In particular, it is important to see how the impartial demands of justice can be maintained while accommodating special concern. (shrink)
Assuming an international commitment to intervene in severe and urgent humanitarian emergencies, as expressed by the doctrine ‘The Responsibility to Protect’, I discuss two objections that the duty to intervene is nonetheless a duty that is easily limited by other moral considerations. One objection is that this duty will exceed the reasonable limits of any obligation given the high personal cost of intervention. The other objection is that any duty to intervene will be an imperfect duty, and therefore not a (...) duty that is ascribed to and demandable of any specific actor. I will argue that these objections do not undermine the principle of the responsibility to protect. (shrink)
Michael Blake argues that states are the primary sites of justice for persons and that the function of international justice is to ensure that states interact with each other in ways that preserve the capacity of each to realize justice for their own members. This paper will argue that justice among states requires more of states than that they preserve and maintain each other's capacity as primary sites of justice. Justice among states will require some justification, as well, of the (...) claims of states over resources and territory within their borders. Such a justification, I suggest, must presume a global institutional order, and this will introduce the problem of coercion in the international domain. International coercion will have implications for Blake's understanding of international economic justice since it is premised on the claim that the domestic context is coercive in a way that the international arena is not. (shrink)
Why does global justice as a philosophical inquiry matter? We know that the world is plainly unjust in many ways and we know that something ought to be done about this without, it seems, the need of a theory of global justice. Accordingly, philosophical inquiry into global justice comes across to some as an intellectual luxury that seems disconnected from the real world. I want to suggest, however, that philosophical inquiry into global justice is necessary if we want to address (...) the problems of humanity. First, in some cases, a theory of global justice is needed for identifying what counts as legitimate problems of justice. Second, even in obvious cases of injustices, such as the fact of preventable extreme poverty to which we know we have an obligation to respond, we cannot know the content and the limits of these obligations and who the primary bearers of these obligations are without some theoretical guidance. However, I acknowledge that philosophical inquiry on global justice risks becoming a philosop.. (shrink)
Cosmopolitanism, as a moral idea, holds that individuals are the ultimate units of moral worth and are entitled to equal consideration, regardless of contingencies such as citizenship or nationality. In one common interpretation, cosmopolitan justice not only regards individuals as the basic subjects of moral concern, but it also requires distributive principles to transcend national affiliations and to apply equally to all persons of the world. As Simon Caney puts it, “persons’ entitlements should not be determined by factors such as (...) their nationality or citizenship.“. (shrink)
While there is a significant amount of discussion in philosophy on the ethics of wildlife conservation, there is relatively less discussion on the justice of conservation. By the “justice of conservation”, I mean the question of what we owe to fellow human beings with respect to conservation goals and practices. The goal of this paper is two-fold: first to highlight the justice-gap in the morality of wildlife conservation and, second, to frame and propose two dimensions of global conservational justice for (...) further discussion. Specifically, I suggest the need for a more equitable conservation to address the problem of distributive unfairness in global conservation practices, and the need to “decolonize” conservation to ensure more deliberative fairness in how global conservation problems and solutions are determined. (shrink)
How should a liberal state respond to a nonliberal state that is however a decent society? By “decent,” I mean, adopting John Rawls’s terminology, that the so described state is nonaggressive and recognizes the independence and equality of other states and that it also honors basic human rights. Should a liberal state tolerate such a nonliberal state? We can identify two possible conceptions of global toleration in this regard. One conception holds that liberal states ought to tolerate nonliberal states; the (...) second holds that liberal states ought not to tolerate nonliberal states. For convenience, I will call these the “internationalist” and “cosmopolitan” conceptions of global toleration, respectively. In this discussion, I attempt to analyze this dispute over global liberal toleration more basically in terms of two different views of liberalism and of the value of liberal toleration, which we may label “toleration-liberalism” and “autonomy-liberalism”. These different understandings of liberal toleration tend towards one or the other ideal of liberal global toleration. Then, in support of the cosmopolitan ideal, I will note certain advantages of autonomy-liberalism over toleration-liberalism. (shrink)
In some discussions on global distributive justice, it is argued that the factthat the state exercises coercive authority over its own citizens explains whythe state has egalitarian distributive obligations to its own but not to otherindividuals in the world at large. Two recent works make the case that the globalorder is indeed coercive in a morally significant way for generating certainglobal distributive obligations. Nicole Hassoun argues that the coercivecharacter of the global order gives rise to global duties of humanitarian aid.Laura (...) Valentini argues that the existence of global coercion triggers globaldistributive duties more demanding than mere humanitarianism, but notnecessarily as demanding as cosmopolitan egalitarian duties. This reviewessay suggests that Hassoun’s and Valentini’s depictions of the global orderas coercive entitle them to the stronger conclusion that there are globalegalitarian duties. (shrink)
This review essay discusses recent books by Nicole Hassoun, Laura Valentini and Pablo Gilabert. Topics I examine that are stimulated by these books include the distinction between global egalitarian obligation and humanitarian duties, the role of coercion in justifying global obligations, and the possibility of a third position that falls between humanitarianism and cosmopolitan egalitarianism.
Kok-Chor Tan argues that cosmopolitan liberalism can serve as a means to implement the ideal of moral universalism, if one sufficiently distinguishes non-toleration from intervention and moral universalism from dogmatism. In a further move, Tan claims that such an understanding of cosmopolitan liberalism can work to mutually regulate the behavior of states in the global arena. Tan’s co-panelists engage different aspects of his vision. Steve Coutinho underscores that changes within cultures do not typically result from a dialogue across cultures but (...) from within individual cultures. Instead of propping up universal morality on the ideal of cosmopolitan liberalism, we should, Coutinho proposes, work toward finding values that have been implemented to create practical circumstances that resemble those found in liberal cultures. Putting the spotlight on the historical context of liberal cosmopolitanism, Zachary Penman argues that to engage in a global dialogue, the onus is on cosmopolitan liberals to shift the geography of reasoning from imperiality to decoloniality. Equally, their decolonial partners in this dialogue should throw into light the normative content of their decolonial practical reason to facilitate the shift. Saranindranath Tagore encourages Tan to think about a more expanded account of autonomy that is set on a more explicit cosmopolitan register. To this end, he suggests that a cosmopolitan sensibility be fostered through education. Sympathetic to Tan’s larger project of a liberal cosmopolitanism that subscribes to epistemic modesty, Inés Valdez brings into focus structures of epistemic dogmatism that currently allow for political and economic control and exploitation of other peoples and their resources. Tan’s response considers how his own defense of liberal cosmopolitanism as well as his interlocutors’ responses relate to the broader project of decolonizing philosophy. (shrink)
The chapters in this volume deal with timely issues regarding democracy in theory and in practice in today's globalized world. Authored by leading political philosophers of our time, they appear here for the first time. The essays challenge and defend assumptions about the role of democracy as a viable political and legal institution in response to globalization, keeping in focus the role of rights at the normative foundations of democracy in a pluralistic world.