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By executive order, the US has adopted an immigration policy that looks remarkably similar to a Muslim ban, and there are new threats to deport long-settled residents, such as the so-called Dreamers. Our defunct refugee system has not dealt adequately with increased refugee flows, forcing desperate people to undertake increasingly risky measures in efforts to reach safe havens. Meanwhile increased migration flows over recent years appear to have contributed to a rise in right-wing populism, apparently driving phenomena such as Brexit and Trumpism. In this original and insightful book Gillian Brock offers answers and tools that assist us in evaluating current migration policy and in helping to determine which policies may be permissible and which are normatively indefensible. She offers a comprehensive framework for responding to the many challenges which have recently emerged, and for delivering justice for people on the move along with those affected by migration.
Four recent books, taken together, offer a wealth of important insights on how we might effectively tackle corruption. All of the books’ authors agree that there is something akin to a universal understanding of what corruption is, and all dispute the idea that corruption may simply be in the eye of the beholder. However, there are also sharp disagreements—for example over whether corruption is best eliminated from the top down, or whether bottom-up approaches are more effective. If the books share one weakness, it is that they do not sufficiently emphasize the importance of getting people to believe and feel that they have fair opportunities for good lives, even after institutional and legal reforms are made. Tackling corruption involves taking seriously the substantive link between actual fair treatment and the belief that fair treatment prevails. This will require further research examining how to shift and update people’s deeply held sentiments.
What kinds of principles should guide liberal peoples in their international affairs, especially when dealing with people who are not apparently committed to liberal values? If they are true liberals, should they insist, wherever possible and likely to prove effective, that other peoples conform to liberal standards or at least gradually evolve in a liberal direction? Alternatively, should they be tolerant of others who hold non-liberal commitments and not attempt to steer them towards liberal democratic ideals? How are we to identify the limit for any appropriate tolerance that we ought to exercise? What responsibilities do affluent developed societies have to those that are poor and developing? What form should any assistance take when advantaged countries try to help disadvantaged ones?
Clearly, these are important questions worthy of considerable reflection. And these are the sorts of issues that Rawls attempts to address in his highly influential work The Law of Peoples (LP). The original position plays a central role in deriving the principles that should guide liberal foreign policy. In this chapter we discuss Rawls's original position argument in LP. In the next section I outline the argument Rawls offers for the principles that constitute his Law of Peoples, highlighting the role played by the original position in arriving at guidance in international affairs. Section 12.3 covers some critical engagment with those arguments while section 12.4 discusses some ways in which Rawls, or rather those who would defend him, might address key challenges. Section 12.5 takes stock of the debate between the two sides and emphasizes the strengths of both Rawls's peoples-focused and cosmopolitan perspectives in pursuing a global realistic utopia. I show how Rawls's position on duties to address global poverty and his views concerning how to interact with non-liberal societies contain considerable insights that are not adequately acknowledged.
Rawls's Law of Peoples: some highlights featuring the original position
To appreciate the dynamics of the debate surrounding LP we must very briefly highlight several key moves Rawls makes in his earlier ground-breaking work, TJ. There he sets out to derive the principles of justice that should govern liberal societies. He makes use of the innovative original position technique to craft an ingenious thought experiment. The original position is a theoretical device often used to test the fairness of principles that aim at justice.
The notion of a decent people plays a key role in Rawls’s views about international affairs. One central part of Rawls’s project in The Law of Peoples is to determine the appropriate boundaries, extent, and nature of liberal toleration in shaping liberal foreign policy. A decent people or society is a theoretical construct that assists in understanding what liberal tolerance requires in the international sphere.
If we are aiming at peaceful coexistence and cooperation in the international realm, what kinds of societies must liberals tolerate? Are there any kinds of nonliberal societies which can be admitted as societies of good standing in the international community? Under what conditions, if any, may liberals defensibly decide not to tolerate certain regimes? In a world illed with much diversity, what kinds of peoples should we consider as legitimate, indeed perhaps as allies, in securing a peaceful world order? And are there some actions that are so repugnant that they might warrant coercive intervention? In order to answer such questions, Rawls introduces the theoretical construct of a people who are nonliberal and yet sufficiently committed to certain ideals that they can be accorded recognitional legitimacy and equal standing in international affairs. These are decent peoples.
The notion of human rights plays an important role in Rawls’s The Law of Peoples. Respecting human rights is not only a core principle of political justice and legitimacy, it also assists in determining which people are well-ordered and when sanctions or even military intervention might be permissible.
To understand Rawls’s position on human rights, we should note some key ideas that compose crucial elements of his account. In LP, §10, Rawls outlines what he takes to be the role human rights play in the Law of Peoples:
Human rights are a class of rights that play a special role in a reasonable Law of Peoples: they restrict the justifying reasons for war and its conduct, and they specify limits to a regime’s internal autonomy. In this way they relect the two basic and historically profound changes in how the powers of sovereignty have been conceived since World War II. First, war is no longer an admissible means of government policy and is justiied only in self-defense, or in grave cases of intervention to protect human rights. And second, a government’s internal autonomy is now limited. (LP 79)
Human rights set necessary but not suficient standards for decent domestic political and social institutions. In setting these standards, human rights limit admissible domestic law of all societies and help determine which peoples are in good standing in the Society of Peoples. Furthermore, fulillment of human rights is suficient to exclude justiied and forceful intervention by other peoples.
In the law of peoples Rawls is concerned with the justice and peaceful coexistence of well-ordered societies as members of a society of peoples. Well-ordered peoples, importantly, have institutions of self-government or of consultation in their internal governance. For Rawls, well-ordered peoples include reasonable liberal peoples and decent peoples, which, although they are not liberal, are not aggressive, recognize human rights, and have a legitimate political and legal order. A key part of this project is to argue for the principles which well-ordered peoples can agree on to guide their conduct in the international domain. Rawls argues that the Law of Peoples he endorses is a realistic utopia. It is realistic because it takes account of many real conditions, such as the fact that not all peoples of the world do or can reasonably be made to endorse liberal principles. The eight core principles that constitute the Law of Peoples can, by contrast, be endorsed by all well-ordered peoples, or at least they have no reason to reject them.
Rawls’s argument occurs in several stages. First, he concerns himself only with liberal peoples and the principles they would have reason to endorse. He employs a second original position to derive his Law of Peoples for liberal peoples. In the first original position, the parties select principles to regulate the basic structure of society. After the principles governing domestic society have been derived, Rawls moves to the international level. At this stage, the second original position is employed to derive the foreign policy that liberal peoples would choose. The representatives of peoples are subject to an appropriate veil of ignorance for the situation. For instance, they do not know the size of the territory or population, its relative strength, or its level of economic development.
A striking feature concerning the state of global health is that it is characterised by some radical disparities, including those in life expectancy, maternal mortality and malaria-related deaths. Do we have any responsibilities with respect to improving global health? I begin my answer to this question by surveying a number of international practices that contribute to poor global health. We can then appreciate the wide range of different kinds of international practices and policies that facilitate poor global health. Which, if any, are we obligated to reform in our decidedly non-ideal world? How should we allocate responsibilities fairly in bringing about some necessary reforms? I argue that there is an important class of remedial responsibilities that falls on many citizens of affluent, developed states, and their primary agents of change, governments. In order to appreciate why this conclusion follows, I analyse the notion of remedial responsibilities and the grounds on which it may fairly be allocated.
GLOBAL HEALTH: SOME PROBLEMS AND PATTERNS
One of the most striking features about the state of global health is that it is characterised by radical inequalities. Here is just a sample of the more widely noticed kinds. Life expectancy at birth varies enormously: life expectancy in Sierra Leone or Afghanistan is about forty years, whereas those lucky enough to be born in Japan or Australia enjoy a life expectancy of twice that at approximately eighty (Benatar and Upshur 2011: 14–15).
In previous work I have argued that reasonable indicators of our progress towards global justice include the extent to which: (1) all are enabled to meet their basic needs; (2) people's basic liberties are protected; and (3) social and political arrangements are in place to support these two goals, that is, that enable us to meet our basic needs and protect our basic liberties (Brock, 2005, 2009). How do we get from where we are now to where we should be? The issue of transitioning to any of our ideals of global justice has not received as much attention as it should. In this chapter I examine some measures that would close the gap between our current state of affairs and better enabling people to meet their basic needs. Current global poverty must be one of the most pressing obstacles to realizing global justice. The way in which we are depleting and destroying the global commons is another pressing and related issue. Failing to protect the global commons has a bearing not only on current and future global poverty, but indeed, on the capacity of the planet to provide a life-sustaining environment, and thus on everyone's ability to meet their basic needs. In the second part of the chapter I discuss how concern in this area can also ground a case for global taxation reforms.
What can be done about the poor state of global health? How are global health challenges intimately linked to the global political economy and to issues of social justice? What are our responsibilities and how can we improve global health? Global Health and Global Health Ethics addresses these questions from the perspective of a range of disciplines, including medicine, philosophy and the social sciences. Topics covered range from infectious diseases, climate change and the environment to trade, foreign aid, food security and biotechnology. Each chapter identifies the ways in which we exacerbate poor global health and discusses what we should do to remedy the factors identified. Together, they contribute to a deeper understanding of the challenges we face, and propose new national and global policies. Offering a wealth of empirical data and both practical and theoretical guidance, this is a key resource for bioethicists, public health practitioners and philosophers.
The raison d'être for this book is to draw attention to what we consider to be one of the largest and most important challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century – to improve and promote global health. By global health we mean the health of all people globally within sustainable and healthy living (local and global) conditions. In order to achieve this ambitious goal we need to understand, among other things, the value systems, modes of reasoning, and power structures that have driven and shaped the world over the past century. We also need to appreciate the unsustainability of many of our current consumption patterns before we can address threats to the health and lives of current and future generations.
The world and how we live in it have been changing dramatically over many centuries, but in the past fifty years change has been more rapid and profound than ever in the past. Many positive changes have been associated with impressive economic growth, advances in science and medicine and in social policies regarding access to health promotion. These include more equitable access to primary care, greater focus on a primary health-care approach, expansion of social programs to improve living conditions and a welcome increasing emphasis on the rights of all individuals to be equally respected.
Sadly, emphasis on the exaggerated expectations of the most privileged people has resulted in neglect of a large proportion of the world's population with consequent widening disparities in wealth and health.