Chapter

Subsistence wars

Cécile Fabre

in Cosmopolitan War

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199567164
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746055 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567164.003.0004
Subsistence wars

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Chapter 3 claims that violations of subsistence rights (to the material resources we need to lead a minimally decent life) provide victims with a just cause for war, partly because severe mass poverty undermines collective interests in collective self-determination, but also on the deeper grounds that threats to one's life, of which starvation is one, warrant defensive killing. The claim holds not merely when the rights violations take the form of a wrongful action, but also (more controversially) when they take the form of a wrongful omission. Having thus expanded on the account of just causes for war offered in Chapter 2, Chapter 3 makes a first foray into the issue of legitimate authority, and argues that the right to wage a subsistence war is held not merely by states whose populations suffer unjustly from severe poverty and which are not themselves responsible for that predicament, but also (controversially) by responsible states as well as by victims themselves. The chapter ends with an account of the grounds upon which individual affluent members of affluent communities who are derelict in their duty to the very poor are legitimate targets in war. It argues that some of those members are not protected by the principle of non-combatant immunity.

Keywords: subsistence wars; poverty; negative rights; positive rights; affluence; non-combatant immunity; legitimate authority; acts and omissions

Chapter.  16802 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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