Global Justice as Fairness: Non-domination, Human Rights & the Global Basic Structure
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Most Rawlsian approaches to global justice fall into one of two main types—cosmopolitanisms that expand the scope of Rawls's domestic theory to the entire world, and those that, following Rawls's The Law of Peoples, develop a liberal foreign policy rooted in the toleration of “decent” but nonliberal peoples. Global Justice as Fairness offers an alternative to these by incorporating some aspects of each, as well as some unique features, into a coherent whole that avoids their more significant drawbacks. Employing a distinctive understanding of the global original position and a republican view of freedom, the theory generates two principles that aim to ensure the agency and non-domination of peoples. These principles provide the broad outlines of a just global basic structure for states that is both realistic and utopian.
The most basic parameters of Rawlsian theories of global justice are the subject of and parties to the original position(s). Global Justice as Fairness is unique among such theories by identifying the global basic structure as subject (as cosmopolitans do) while also taking peoples, not persons, as the parties (following Rawls's law of peoples). It is also alone in severing the tie between domestic and global justice and recognizing the fact of reasonable <italic>global</italic> pluralism, according to which it is unreasonable to expect all peoples to hold liberal conceptions of domestic justice. Global Justice as Fairness excludes the parties’ knowledge of their domestic conceptions behind the veil of ignorance, forcing them to rely on their generic interests as peoples. This picture of peoples’ rationality is developed with an account of global primary goods rooted in their agency and a global analog of citizenship.
Thus situated, the parties are led to select two principles of justice for a global basic structure formulated in terms of the republican vision of freedom. The first principle specifies a human rights regime that ensures the minimal conditions needed for peoples to maintain their distinctly political form of group agency. The second provides guidelines for minimizing the domination of peoples through a just global political and economic order within which they can freely exercise that agency.