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John RawlsDebating the Major Questions$
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Jon Mandle and Sarah Roberts-Cady

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190859213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190859213.001.0001

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Rawls on Global Economic Justice

Rawls on Global Economic Justice

A Critical Examination

(p.313) 17 Rawls on Global Economic Justice
John Rawls

Rekha Nath

Oxford University Press

This chapter canvasses the debate between John Rawls and his cosmopolitan critics over the demands of economic justice that arise beyond state borders. In particular, it examines the merits of three defenses of the position Rawls advances in The Law of Peoples that justice does not call for a cross-society egalitarian distributive principle: first, that such a principle would fail to hold states responsible for their economic position; second, that satisfying such a principle would not be feasible; and, third, that appeal to Rawls’s constructivist methodology can explain why the egalitarian principles he takes to be suited for the state context are not suited for the international context. The chapter concludes that upon careful examination, none of these defenses succeeds in plausibly motivating Rawls’s rejection of global egalitarianism.

Keywords:   John Rawls, Law of Peoples, cosmopolitanism, global economic justice, international distributive justice, egalitarianism, equality, duty of assistance, international relations

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