Justice and Global Inequality

David Miller

in Inequality, Globalization, and World Politics

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780198295662
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599521 | DOI:
 Justice and Global Inequality

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Argues that the mere demonstration of inequality (e.g. the difference in average life expectancy between West Germany and Uganda) is not of itself sufficient to prove injustice. One needs to go further, examining why the inequality has occurred and clarifying the moral basis for condemning it as unjust. Not all inequality in international relations can be so described, and this chapter criticizes two of the prominent types of arguments used to demonstrate that existing inequalities are unjust. First, it dismisses the idea of a ‘global community of states’ in which equality implies recognition and respect. Second, it rejects arguments based on a notion of an equal right to natural resources. Instead, the chapter offers two alternative reasons for regarding inequalities as unjust: first, were they do actually involve the violation of ‘basic rights’, and second, where the inequalities have arisen from ‘exploitative’ transactions based on inequality of bargaining power.

Keywords: economic justice; inequality; social justice

Chapter.  9924 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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