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An Egalitarian Law of Peoples Thomas Pogge

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1 An Egalitarian Law of Peoples Thomas Pogge
Philosophy & Public Affairs 2005 Leonardo Flores PUAF 699I

2 Rawls’s Conception of Domestic Justice
Fair value of political liberties Fair equality of opportunity Difference principle

3 Current World Order It fails to give members of different peoples roughly equal chances to influence the transnational political decisions that shape their lives. It fails to give equally talented and motivated persons roughly equal chances to obtain a good education and professional position irrespective of the society into which they were born. It also generates international social and economic inequalities that are not to the maximum benefit of the world’s worst-off persons. p.196

4 Pogge’s Argument Rawls does not think that any of the three analogous criticisms is valid, but he only concentrates on the third. Pogge believes all three are valid, but only presses him on the following: A plausible conception of global justice must be sensitive to international social and economic inequalities.

5 He accepts, for the sake of argument, the following:
Pogge’s Argument He accepts, for the sake of argument, the following: 1) That global justice is addressed in a second session of the original position. 2) That the world’s population neatly divides into peoples cleanly separated by national borders. He also waives any support his position could draw from the role past crimes have played in settling current borders.

6 Global Resources Tax - Though each people own and control all resources within their territory, they must pay a tax on resources they choose to extract. Tax should be extended to reusable resources including land use, as well as taxing the discharge of pollutants into the air and water. It should be thought of as an amendment to the Law of Peoples. Example: Saudi Arabia can choose to extract oil or not, but if they do, then they must pay the GRT whether it is for domestic consumption or for export.

7 - It’s basically a tax on consumption.
Global Resources Tax - It’s basically a tax on consumption. - The tax falls on goods and services in proportion to how much value it takes from the planet. - In this way it serves as a modern Lockean proviso: “One may use unlimited amounts, but one most share some of the economic benefit. The GRT would presumably raise the price of whatever is taxed. Part of the tax is therefore passed on to consumers, mitigating a concern that the GRT is arbitrarily biased against the rich or resource rich. Point 2 example: The cost of gasoline will contain a much higher portion of GRT than the cost of a ticket to an art museum.

8 Global Resources Tax Money from the GRT should go to the poor to ensure that they have access to “education, health care, means of production (land) and/or jobs to meet their own basic needs with dignity and to represent their right and interests effectively against the rest of humankind.”

9 Global Resources Tax - States are responsible for paying the GRT and are free to raise the funds in any way they like. - Ideally, GRT payments should go directly to the government of the poorest societies.

10 Global Resources Tax - Governments are free to spend the GRT as they wish, but if the poor aren’t helped in recipient countries then GRT funds may be cut off. - In such a case, the GRT funds could be given to a development agency to fund programs in the country, or no money would go there.

11 Global Resources Tax - Pogge envisions a facilitating organization which sets the rules so that the tax has the best possible impact on the world’s poorest people in the long run. Pogge thinks that a 1% GRT would be both feasible a morally attractive. The point of the GRT is to focus on inequality—it isn’t Pogge’s actual position on global justice. If the amended law of people’s is morally more plausible than Rawls’s original, then egalitarian concerns are vindicated.

12 Global Resources Tax – The Problem of Stability
Small scale defections: The response should be sanctions (import/export duties) impose by every other country. This would keep things decentralized so as not to require a world government. Large scale defections: Pogge does not give a definitive answer, but think the GRT is in the best interest of the more affluent societies. Argues for an appeal to values in “Western moral thought”, touts the environmental benefits, and thinks the GRT can be used as a bargaining chip against dangerous technologies.

13 Rawls’s Position on International Distributive Justice
Rawls claims that delegates from liberal societies will adopt his law of peoples because they have one fundamental interest: that its society’s domestic institutions satisfy its conception of justice. Pogge denies that they only have one interest and goes on to say that even if they only had one interest, they would favor the GRT over the law of peoples.

14 Against Rawls’s Stipulation
It is hard to believe that delegates would not have an interest in well-being. After all, the whole point of domestic justice is the well-being of individuals. If there is any interest in well-being, the GRT would be favored.

15 Against Rawls’s Reasoning
Even if delegates had only the one interest, they would, at most, be indifferent between GRT and Rawls. However, given that international inequality may have a negative impact on domestic justice in a poor society, then delegates have a reason to favor the GRT.

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