Developing Nations, Equal Protection, and the Limits of Moral Heroism

Kristin Shrader‐Frechette

in Environmental Justice

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152036
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833665 | DOI:

Series: Environmental Ethics and Science Policy Series

 Developing Nations, Equal Protection, and the Limits of Moral Heroism

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Using case studies focusing on how developed nations impose environmental risks on developing countries, the chapter reveals how the U.S. and other nations ship banned pesticides or hazardous waste to developing nations. The chapter analyzes the concepts of equal protection and moral heroism or supererogation. It argues that most indigenous people do not give genuine informed consent to such risks and that it is not paternalistic to protect native people. Extending and developing arguments of Peter Singer, the chapter also argues that ordinary citizens have duties (that are not heroic) to help protect innocent victims from first‐world exploitation, even though there are many economic incentives that lead nations to exploit the poor of the world.

Keywords: citizenship; developing nations; environmental injustice; equality; hazardous materials; heroism; indigenous people; informed consent; justice; moral heroism; paternalism; responsibility; risk; Singer

Chapter.  10122 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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