Global Institutions and Justice

Kok-Chor Tan

in Justice, Institutions, and Luck

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588855
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738586 | DOI:
Global Institutions and Justice

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This chapter builds on the luck egalitarian ideal defended in Part II, arguing that since equality matters independently of the ideal of democracy, it potentially applies outside the confines of the (democratic) state. On my institutional luck egalitarian account, what is significant is whether there are global practices and institutions that systemically translate natural and arbitrary facts about persons into significant advantages for some and disadvantages for others. This chapter thus elaborates on the ways in which global institutions and practices turn facts that are “arbitrary from a moral point of view” and contingencies into actual social advantages and disadvantages for persons. It points out that the institutional focus prevents global luck egalitarianism from sliding into the absurdity often attributed to it, namely, that global luck egalitarianism has to take on distributive (not just humanitarian) commitments to anyone who so happens to be worse off. Distributive obligations kick in only where there is some institutional order that transforms luck into differential life prospects.

Keywords: global justice; cosmopolitanism; global egalitarianism; luck egalitarianism; global institutions; arbitrariness and justice; social cooperation; institutional impact; coercion; Thomas Nagel

Chapter.  9852 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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