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International Political Theory on Justice - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 294
Justice/International political theory/Brown: The reinvigoration of theories of justice begun by
John Rawls's A Theory of Justice(1) (...) here, the technicalities of Rawls's scheme will be taken for granted, and the focus will be on their international implications (Brown, 1997(2); 2002a(3); 2002b)(4).
International justice/Brown: of the 'difference principle'. International society is not a 'co-operative venture for mutual advantage'; individual societies are assumed to be bounded and self-sufficient, and so there is nothing that could provide the basic materials for redistribution
required by the notion of international distributive justice.
VsRawls: For a theory of social justice to have nothing to say about the extraordinary inequalities that exist between societies appears perverse.
International Justice/BarryVsRawls: Brian Barry this is symptomatic of wider problems with Rawls's project. International justice poses problems that are structurally similar to those posed by, for example, intergenerational justice and environmental justice; in each case the central notion of a contract based, at least in part, on the search for mutual advantage by the contractors, cannot easily respond to the interests of those who cannot be present as contractors, which category includes foreigners. Moreover, the requirement that arrangements be, in some sense, based on reciprocity is equally if not more limiting (Barry, 1989)(5). >Justice/Barry, >Jutice/Beitz, >International relations/Pogge.
Gaus I 295
Borders/boundaries/refugees: Since existing boundaries are clearly not the result of any
kind of contract - nor are they 'natural' - what, if any, justification can be given for the norm which
assigns to state authorities the right to control such borders, and thus creates categories such as 'political refugee' and 'economic migrant'?
Pogge(5) suggests none, and the majority of cosmopolitan liberals agree (Barry and Goodin, 1992(6); O'Neill, 1994(7)). However, as most cosmopolitans also agree, there are obviously practical problems with such a position, and liberal nationalists such as Michael Walzer and David Miller argue that Rawls was essentially correct to assume that distributive justice can only be a feature of bounded communities (Miller and Walzer, 1995(8)). A socially just society will involve redistribution of resources, and the willingness of citizens to redistribute depends crucially on the existence of a sense of community (Miller, 1995)(9).
Equality/inequality/justice/Brown: problem: a world of socially just communities might still be a
radically unequal world. Can such a state of affairs truly be just?
Liberalism/Brown: There is an impasse here which is symptomatic of a wider set of problems for contemporary cosmopolitan liberalism (Brown, 2000a)(3). The distinction between 'insiders' and 'outsiders' is difficult to justify rationally, but a politics without this distinction, a politics without borders, is, in the world as it is, unattainable and undesirable, unless a libertarian conception of liberalism be taken to its limits, as Hillel Steiner (1992)(10) advocates. >Hillel Steiner.


1. Rawls, John (1971) A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
2. Brown, C. (1997) 'Review essay: theories of international justice'. British Journal of Political Science, 27:273—9.
3. Brown, C. (2000a) 'On the borders of (international) political theory'. In N. O'Sullivan, ed., Political Theory in Transition. London: Routledge.
4. Brown, C. (2000b) 'Cultural diversity and international political theory'. Review of International Studies, 26: 199-213.
5. Pogge, T. (1989) Realizing Rawls. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
6. Barry, B. and R. E. Goodin, eds (1992) Free Movement. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
7. O'Neill, O. (1994) 'Justice and boundaries'. In C. Brown, ed., Political Restructuring in Europe. London: Routledge, 69-88.
8. Miller, D. and M. Walzer, eds (1995) Pluralism, Justice and Equality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
9. Miller, D. (1995) On Nationality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 486—93.
10. Steiner, H. (1992) 'Libertarianism and the transnational migration of people'. In B. Barry and R. E. Goodin, eds, Free Movement. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.


Brown, Chris 2004. „Political Theory and International Relations“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
International Political Theory
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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