Chapter

Assessing the Statist Ideal

Laura Valentini

in Justice in a Globalized World

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593859
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731457 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593859.003.0004
Assessing the Statist Ideal

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This chapter discusses the complaint that the statist ideal is excessively biased in favour of the status quo and argues that this critique is only partly successful. While the statists’ (especially Rawls’s) refusal to extend egalitarian justice to the global realm does not in itself indicate subservience to the status quo, statist principles have unduly conservative implications because they are insufficiently sensitive to morally relevant phenomena characterizing the global realm. Although statists rightly identify peoples (states) as important subjects of international justice in virtue of the particular forms of coercive power they exercise by directly interfering in one another’s affairs, they fail to appreciate that these are not the only forms of international coercion in need of justification. Because the normative outlook underpinning Rawlsian statism is blind to these other potential sources of injustice, its principles may very well turn out to be status-quo biased and, therefore, rightly criticized on guidance grounds.

Keywords: statism; status-quo bias; global poverty; power-inequalities; coercion; John Rawls; self-determination; non-interference; mutual assistance; national responsibility

Chapter.  9930 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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