Why Worry about Historic Injustice?

Daniel Butt

in Rectifying International Injustice

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199218240
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191711589 | DOI:
Why Worry about Historic Injustice?

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This chapter outlines a number of critical responses to the project of seeking to rectify historic injustice, and explains why they largely do not apply to international libertarian accounts of international justice. It distinguishes between backward-looking and forward-looking accounts of distributive justice in both ideal and non-ideal theory, and looks at how both accounts relate to ideas of rectificatory justice. If one advocates a forward-looking account of distributive justice, and so advocates a redistribution of resources with each new generation, then the rectificatory project will seem to be of little importance. However, this nonchalance in the face of historic injustice is unsustainable if one advocates backward-looking principles. Since international libertarians resist cosmopolitan calls for a generational redistribution of resources across political boundaries, they must carefully scrutinize the provenance of modern day distributions.

Keywords: rectification; non-ideal theory; international justice; distributive justice; backward-looking; forward-looking; redistribution; cosmopolitan; generation

Chapter.  12818 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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