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1 - Introduction: The Globalization of Ethics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 September 2009

Will Kymlicka
Affiliation:
Professor of Philosophy, Queen's University; Visiting Professor, Central European University, Budapest
William M. Sullivan
Affiliation:
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education
Will Kymlicka
Affiliation:
Queen's University, Ontario
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Summary

A great deal has been written lately about the ethics of globalization, understood as the intensification of interactions across national boundaries, particularly in the areas of trade and investment, but also the transfer of technology, the movement of peoples, and the global diffusion of a Western consumer lifestyle embodied in products such as Hollywood movies and McDonald's. There have been many impassioned ethical debates about the benefits and costs of these processes of globalization, including their effect on inequality both within and between societies, their consequences for the environment, and the way they are uprooting and displacing traditional ways of life.

One striking aspect of these ethical debates about globalization is that they are themselves globalized. These debates take place across national boundaries, bringing together activists, academics, and government officials from all parts of the world, who must therefore find a common vocabulary to discuss their ethical concerns about globalization. People from Western liberal societies must find a way to discuss ethical issues with people from Buddhist societies in Southeast Asia or from indigenous communities in Latin America. Such transnational debates about ethics are increasingly unavoidable, given the intensity of interaction amongst the world's cultures. As globalization increases, ethics must itself become globalized.

Our aim in this volume is to explore the globalization of ethics, which is a surprisingly neglected phenomenon. In particular, we examine how some of the world's most influential ethical traditions think about the task of constructing moral conversations and moral norms at a global level.

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The Globalization of Ethics
Religious and Secular Perspectives
, pp. 1 - 16
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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