GLOBAL JUSTICE WITHOUT END?
John Rawls argued in The Law of Peoples that we should reject any principle of international distributive justice, whether in ideal theory or nonideal theory. Instead, he advocated a duty of assistance on the part of well-ordered societies toward burdened societies. I argue that Rawls is correct that we should endorse a principle with a target and cut-off point rather than a principle of international distributive justice. But the target and cut-off point he favors is too undemanding, because it can be met by assisting a burdened society to become a decent people. Instead, only a society that respects the right to an adequate standard of living, and not simply a right to subsistence, can be an acceptable target. Rawls is prevented from drawing this conclusion by a failure to disentangle issues of intervention and assistance, a failure bound up with his flawed, intervention-driven account of human rights in defining a decent people.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Corpus Christi College, Oxford OX1 4JF, United Kingdom , Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: 2005-01-01