Compensation for Historic International Injustice

Daniel Butt

in Rectifying International Injustice

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199218240
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191711589 | DOI:
Compensation for Historic International Injustice

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This chapter examines claims that compensation should be paid as a result of the lasting harm and benefit caused by historic injustice. It argues that present day parties who have benefited from the automatic effects of past wrongdoing may possess compensatory duties if others are still disadvantaged, insofar as the victims and beneficiaries are not in a state of moral equilibrium. It argues that any claims relating to compensation must make reference to some account of counterfactual reasoning in order to assess the degree of harm which has been suffered. The question of identifying the morally relevant counterfactual is something which has been frequently misunderstood, particularly in relation to exploitation. Having considered, and dismissed, objections stemming from the ‘non-identity problem’, the chapter concludes by putting forward a substantive defence of the claim that benefiting from injustice can give rise to rectificatory duties, even when the receipt of benefit is involuntary.

Keywords: harm; benefit; moral equilibrium; counterfactual; exploitation; non-identity problem; involuntary; rectificatory

Chapter.  21154 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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