International Libertarianism

Daniel Butt

in Rectifying International Injustice

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199218240
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191711589 | DOI:
International Libertarianism

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This chapter lays out the account of justice between nations — international libertarianism — which the book uses to assess present day obligations arising from historic injustice. The first section outlines international libertarianism as a backward-looking account of international distributive justice, in contrast with forward-looking redistributive cosmopolitanism. The second section differentiates international libertarianism from prescriptive realism, by giving details of the principles of just international interaction which international libertarians believe should govern relations between different communities. These combine a respect for national self-determination with a prohibition on self-interested aggression. The third section considers the propriety of using these principles to judge historic international interaction, in the light of historically different beliefs about morality and the relatively recent development of international law. It concludes by considering the claim that historic departures from the principles might be seen as having been justified by necessity, and considers the duties of compensation which would result from such actions.

Keywords: distributive justice; backward-looking; forward-looking; realism; self-determination; aggression; international law; necessity; compensation

Chapter.  17786 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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