Contributors from several countries discuss the central moral issues arising in the emerging global order: the responsibilities of the strongest societies, moral priorities for the next decades, and the role of intellectuals in view of the huge gap between widely expressed moral ambitions and prevailing political and economic realities.
There is an oft-neglected perspective which the topic of health equity raises: As imposers of the rules, we are inclined to think that harms we inflict through the rules have greater moral weight than like harms we merely fail to prevent or mitigate.
Moral universalism centrally involves the idea that the moral assessment of persons and their conduct, of social rules and states of affairs, must be based on fundamental principles that do not, explicitly or covertly, discriminate arbitrarily against particular persons or groups. This general idea is explicated in terms of three conditions. It is then applied to the discrepancy between our criteria of national and global economic justice. Most citizens of developed countries are unwilling to require of the global economic order (...) what they assuredly require of any national economic order, for example, that its rules be under democratic control, that it preclude life-threatening poverty as far as is reasonably possible. Without a plausible justification, such a double standard constitutes covert arbitrary discrimination against the global poor. Key Words: contextualism corruption discrimination Rawls resource exports world poverty. (shrink)
We citizens of the affluent countries tend to discuss our obligations toward the distant needy mainly in terms of donations and transfers, assistance and redistribution: How much of our wealth, if any, should we give away to the hungry abroad? Using one prominent theorist to exemplify this way of conceiving the problem, I show how it is a serious error — and a very costly one for the global poor.
For some thirteen years now, the World Bank (‘the Bank’) has regularly reported the number of people living below an international poverty line, colloquially known as ‘$1/day’.3 Reports for the most recent year, 1998, put this number at 1,175.14 million.4 The Bank’s estimates of severe income poverty — its global extent, geographical distribution, and trend over time — are widely cited in official publications by governments and international organizations and in popular media, often in support of the view that liberalization (...) and globalization have helped to reduce poverty worldwide. For instance, the President of the World Bank recently declared: “Over the past few years, these better policies have contributed to more rapid growth in developing countries’ per capita incomes than at any point since the mid-1970s. And faster growth has meant poverty reduction: the proportion of people worldwide living in absolute poverty has dropped steadily in recent decades, from 29% in 1990 to a record low of 23% in 1998. After increasing steadily over the past two centuries, since 1980 the total number of people living in poverty worldwide has fallen by an estimated 200 million — even as the world’s population grew by 1.6 billion.”. (shrink)
Following the tradition of classical liberalism, Kant's political philosophy and theory of justice focus on the relation between individual freedom, as the central value of political life, and the state, whose primary normative function is both to restrain and protect individual liberty. In this accessible interpretation of Kant's political philosophy, Allen D. Rosen focuses on the relation among justice, political authority (the state), and individual liberty. He offers interpretations of the ethical bases of Kant's view of justice, of the structure (...) of his taxonomy of duties, and of his understanding of social welfare legislation. Arguing against the grain of much recent scholarly commentary, Rosen asserts that Kant's principles of justice are direct corollaries of the Categorical Imperative and that Kant does not support an absolute or even near-absolute duty of obedience to governments. He also maintains that Kant has principled and important reasons for repudiating a right of revolution and that Kant is not, as he is almost always taken to be, an advocate of the nightwatchman or minimal state. The Kant that emerges from Rosen's pages is an appealing and surprisingly modern philosopher, whose preoccupation with individual freedom still resonates in contemporary political and philosophical debates, and whose attempts to define the proper limits of individual liberty remain relevant even at the end of the twentieth century. (shrink)
Two of the greatest challenges facing humanity are environmental degradation and the persistence of poverty. Both can be met by instituting a Global Resources Dividend (GRD) that would slow pollution and natural-resource depletion while collecting funds to avert poverty worldwide. Unlike Hillel Steiner's Global Fund, which is presented as a fully just regime governing the use of planetary resources, the GRD is meant as merely a modest but widely acceptable and therefore realistic step toward justice. Paula Casal has set forth (...) various ways in which this step might be improved upon. Solid counter-arguments can be given to her criticisms and suggestions. But to specify the best (effective and realizable) design of an appropriate global institutional mechanism with some confidence, economists, political scientists, jurists, environmental scientists, and activists would need to be drawn in to help think through the immense empirical and political complexities posed by this urgent task. (shrink)
With each of our three criminal-law topics—defining offenses, apprehending suspects, and establishing punishments—we feel, I believe, strong moral resistance to the idea that our practices should be settled by a prospective-participant perspective. This becomes quite clear when we look at how the “reforms” suggested by institutional viewing might combine once we consider all three topics together: imagine a more extensive and swifter use of the death penalty in homicide cases coupled with somewhat lower standards of evidence; or think of backing (...) a strict-liability criminal statute with the death penalty. Of course, such “reforms” would increase the execution of innocents; but, their proponents will tell us, any penal system involves the punishment of some innocents, and, if it provides for the death penalty, the execution of some innocents. Moreover, why is it worse for innocents to be punished than for innocents to suffer an equivalent harm in some other way? Formulated from a prospective-participant perspective: Why not run a small risk of being innocently executed in exchange for reducing, much more significantly, the risk of dying prematurely in other ways? (shrink)
In contrast to his own "freestanding" liberalism, Rawls has characterized the liberalism of Kant's Rechtslehre as comprehensive, i.e., as dependent on Kant's teachings about good will and ethical autonomy or on his transcendental idealism. This characterization is not borne out by the text. Though Kant is indeed eager to show that his liberalism is entailed by his wider philosophical worldview, he is not committed to the converse, does not hold that his liberalism presupposes either his moral philosophy or his transcendental (...) idealism. Rather, Kant bases the establishment and maintenance of Recht solely on persons' fundamental a priori interest in external freedom. His liberalism is then, if anything, more freestanding than Rawls's, central elements of which-such as his postulate of certain moral powers with corresponding higher-order interests-are justified by appeal to fundamental ideas he finds to be prevalent in the public culture of his society. (shrink)
The question of what constitutes human flourishing elicits an extraordinary variety of responses, which suggests that there are not merely differences of opinion at work, but also different understandings of the question itself. So it may help to introduce some clarity into the question before starting work on one answer to it.
Abstract Benefit sharing as envisaged by the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a relatively new idea in international law. Within the context of non-human biological resources, it aims to guarantee the conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable use by ensuring that its custodians are adequately rewarded for its preservation. Prior to the adoption of the CBD, access to biological resources was frequently regarded as a free-for-all. Bioprospectors were able to take resources out of their natural habitat and develop (...) commercial products without sharing benefits with states or local communities. This paper asks how CBD-style benefit-sharing fits into debates of justice. It is argued that the CBD is an example of a set of social rules designed to increase social utility. It is also argued that a common heritage of humankind principle with inbuilt benefit-sharing mechanisms would be preferable to assigning bureaucratic property rights to non-human biological resources. However, as long as the international economic order is characterized by serious distributive injustices, as reflected in the enormous poverty-related death toll in developing countries, any morally acceptable means toward redressing the balance in favor of the disadvantaged has to be welcomed. By legislating for a system of justice-in-exchange covering nonhuman biological resources in preference to a free-for-all situation, the CBD provides a small step forward in redressing the distributive justice balance. It therefore presents just legislation sensitive to the international relations context in the 21st century. (shrink)
We inhabit this world with large numbers of people who are very badly off through no fault of their own. The statistics are overwhelming: “Two out of five children in the developing world are stunted, one in three is underweight and one in ten is wasted.”1 Some 250 million children between 5 and 14 do wage work outside their family — often under harsh or cruel conditions: as soldiers, prostitutes, or domestic servants, or in agriculture, construction, textile or carpet production.2 (...) In 1998, out of a total of 5900 million human beings,3 some 2800 million lived below $2/day, and nearly 1200 million of these below the $1/day international poverty line.4 Some 799 million are undernourished, 1000 million lack access to safe water, 2400 million lack access to basic sanitation, and 876 million adults are illiterate.5 More than 880 million lack access to basic health services.6 Approximately 1000 million have no adequate shelter and 2000 million no electricity.7 Roughly one third of all human deaths, some 50,000 daily, are due to poverty-related causes, easily preventable through better nutrition, safe drinking water, vaccines, cheap re-hydration packs and antibiotics.8 “Worldwide 34,000 children under age five die daily from hunger and preventable diseases.”9.. (shrink)
Numa sociedade democrática, as regras sociais são impostas a cada um por todos. Como “recebedores” de tais regras, tendemos a pensar que elas deviam ser designadas para engendrar a melhor distribuição possível de bens e males ou qualidade de vida. Enquanto autores das regras, tendemos a pensar que os malefícios por nós impostos através de tais regras têm maior peso moral que os danos que nós meramente deixamos de evitar ou mitigar. Embora as atuais teorias sejam dominadas pela primeira perspectiva, (...) uma concepção adequada da justiça exige um balanceamento de ambas tendências. O tema da equidade na saúde é bem apropriado para mostrar como concepções da justiça puramente dirigidas aos recebedores estão fadadas ao fracasso e como esboçar uma alternativa mais promissora. (shrink)
The Global Financial Crisis is acknowledged to be the most severe economic downturn since the 1930s, and one that is unique in its underlying causes, its scope, and its wider social, political and economic implications. This volume explores some of the ethical issues that it has raised.
The volume brings together a collection of original papers on some of the main tenets of Joseph Raz's legal and political philosophy: Legal positivism and the nature of law, practical reason, authority, the value of equality, incommensurability, harm, group rights, and multiculturalism.
This paper comments on Derek Parfit’s second and third Tanner Lectures, in which he discusses a dazzling array of moral formulas. Parfit treats these as competing formulas. But before we can appreciate his claims about winners and losers, we must first understand what this competition is about: What role are all these formulas meant to play? By reference to which task are we to judge their success or failure?
Though they improve upon the millennium development goals, the new sustainable development goals have important draw-backs. First, in assessing present deprivations, they draw our attention to historical comparisons. Yet, that things were even worse before is morally irrelevant; what matters is how much better things could be now. Second, like the MDGs, the SDGs fail to specify any division of labor to ensure success. Therefore, should progress stall, we won’t know who is responsible to get us back on track. We (...) won’t “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” without an agreement on who is to do what. Third, although the SDGs contain a goal calling for inequality reduction, this goal is specified so that the reduction need not start till 2029. Such delay would cause enormous death and suffering among the poor and enable the rich to shape national and supranational design in their own favor. (shrink)
"The largest Ebola outbreak to date—first detected in December 2013 and still ongoing as of April 2015—has cast new light on the shortfalls of international public health systems.1 As in previous health crises, scrutiny has reemerged over the pharmaceutical industry’s ability and willingness to innovate new medicines for underserved disease areas. The public debate has intensified following revelations that promising drug candidates to treat Ebola had gone undeveloped despite compelling preclinical results.2 This lack of development is especially troubling because it (...) occurred after a recently implemented U.S. incentive scheme—the Food and Drug Administration’s tropical disease priority review voucher program—designed to counteract exactly this problem. Taking Ebola as a case in point, it is useful to examine the short history and ongoing refinement of this voucher program, since it represents one of the most significant legislative efforts to systematically address the relative absence of com- mercial rewards for drugs targeting tropical diseases. This analysis evaluates the voucher program’s effectiveness for both stimulating private sector innovation and achieving positive health impacts among populations most severely burdened by tropical diseases. It then proposes specific recommendations for how law- makers can improve the program’s legislation to better achieve these objectives. ". (shrink)
Thomas Franck believes that the strict constraints imposed by the UN Charter on military intervention in other countries have become too constraining and that, so long as the Charter text remains unrevised, we should condone violations of these rules as legitimated by a jurying process. The relevant UN Charter constraints he seeks to subvert are two in particular. First, the Charter suggests that, outside the UN system, military force may be used across national borders only in “individual or collective self-defense (...) if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security”. Apart from this, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations” ). Second, regarding the use of force by the UN itself, the Charter proclaims that “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII” ).1. (shrink)