On Trade and Justice

in Theoria
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I agree with many of the theses advanced by Darrel Moellendorf in his important book. The book covers just about every single issue in international ethics: an individualist theory of sovereignty; an essentially Rawlsian philosophical methodology; the justice of immigration and trade controls; the justice of intervention and war; and a theory of global equality of opportunity. Moellendorf proposes a world of liberal separate states (similar to my own proposal)1 but committed to a scheme of non-statist global redistribution run by a sort of international agency. He thus joins other liberal commentators who have reacted to John Rawls’ rejection of principles of global socioeconomic justice.2 As is well known, Rawls’ principles of international justice are anti-cosmopolitan, not just in the sense that worries Moellendorf, that is, of eschewing global redistribution of wealth, but also in the area of human rights, where Rawls has essentially renounced global liberalism.3 Moellendorf believes, like those other liberal critics, that Rawls is wrong and justice requires transfers of wealth from citizens in rich countries to those in poor countries.

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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