World Poverty and Human Rights

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-02-26
  • Publisher: Polity

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Some 2.5 billion human beings live in severe poverty, deprived of such essentials as adequate nutrition, safe drinking water, basic sanitation, adequate shelter, literacy, and basic health care. One third of all human deaths are from poverty-related causes: 18 million annually, including over 10 million children under five. However huge in human terms, the world poverty problem is tiny economically. Just 1 percent of the national incomes of the high-income countries would suffice to end severe poverty worldwide. Yet, these countries, unwilling to bear an opportunity cost of this magnitude, continue to impose a grievously unjust global institutional order that foreseeably and avoidably perpetuates the catastrophe. Most citizens of affluent countries believe that we are doing nothing wrong. Thomas Pogge seeks to explain how this belief is sustained. He analyses how our moral and economic theorizing and our global economic order have adapted to make us appear disconnected from massive poverty abroad. Dispelling the illusion, he also offers a modest, widely sharable standard of global economic justice and makes detailed, realistic proposals toward fulfilling it. Thoroughly updated, the second edition of this classic book incorporates responses to critics and a new chapter introducing Pogge's current work on pharmaceutical patent reform.

Author Biography

Thomas Pogge is Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University, Professorial Fellow in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University, Research Director in the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature at the University of Oslo, and Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Professional Ethics at the University of Central Lancashire.

Table of Contents

General Introductionp. 1
Some cautions about our moral judgmentsp. 2
Four easy reasons to ignore world povertyp. 7
Sophisticated defenses of our acquiescence in world povertyp. 13
Does our new global economic order really not harm the poor?p. 18
Responsibilities and reformsp. 26
Human Flourishing and Universal Justicep. 33
Introductionp. 33
Social justicep. 37
Paternalismp. 40
Justice in first approximationp. 43
Essential refinementsp. 45
Human rightsp. 50
Specification of human rights and responsibilities for their realizationp. 54
Conclusionp. 56
How Should Human Rights be Conceived?p. 58
Introductionp. 58
From natural law to rightsp. 60
From natural rights to human rightsp. 62
Official disrespectp. 65
The libertarian critique of social and economic rightsp. 70
The critique of social and economic rights as "manifesto rights"p. 73
Disputes about kinds of human rightsp. 75
Loopholes in Moralitiesp. 77
Introductionp. 77
Types of incentivesp. 79
Loopholesp. 81
Social arrangementsp. 82
Case 1: the converted apartment buildingp. 83
Case 2: the homelands policy of white South Africap. 86
An objectionp. 88
Strengtheningp. 89
Fictional historiesp. 91
Puzzles of equivalencep. 93
Conclusionp. 95
Moral Universalism and Global Economic Justicep. 97
Introductionp. 97
Moral universalismp. 98
Our moral assessments of national and global economic ordersp. 100
Some factual background about the global economic orderp. 102
Conceptions of national and global economic justice contrastedp. 106
Moral universalism and David Miller's contextualismp. 108
Contextualist moral universalism and John Rawls's moral conceptionp. 110
Rationalizing divergent moral assessments through a double standardp. 114
Rationalizing divergent moral assessments without a double standardp. 116
The causal role of global institutions in the persistence of severe povertyp. 118
Conclusionp. 122
The Bounds of Nationalismp. 124
Introductionp. 124
Common nationalism: priority for the interests of compatriotsp. 126
Lofty nationalism: the justice-for-compatriots priorityp. 135
Explanatory nationalism: the deep significance of national bordersp. 145
Conclusionp. 150
Achieving Democracyp. 152
Introductionp. 152
The structure of the problem faced by fledgling democraciesp. 154
Reducing the expected rewards of coups d'etatp. 158
Undermining the borrowing privilege of authoritarian predatorsp. 159
Undermining the resource privilege of authoritarian predatorsp. 168
Conclusionp. 173
Cosmopolitanism and Sovereigntyp. 174
Introductionp. 174
Institutional cosmopolitanism based on human rightsp. 175
The idea of state sovereigntyp. 183
Some main reasons for a vertical dispersal of sovereigntyp. 187
The shaping and reshaping of political unitsp. 196
Conclusionp. 201
Eradicating Systemic Poverty: Brief for a Global Resources Dividendp. 202
Introductionp. 202
Radical inequality and our responsibilityp. 203
Three grounds of injusticep. 205
A moderate proposalp. 210
The moral argument for the proposed reformp. 214
Is the reform proposal realistic?p. 216
Conclusionp. 220
Pharmaceutical Innovation: Must We Exclude the Poor?p. 222
Introductionp. 222
The TRIPS Agreement and its aftermathp. 224
The argument from beneficial consequencesp. 230
Toward a better way of stimulating research and development of essential medicinesp. 236
Differential pricingp. 238
The public-good strategy for extending access to essential medicinesp. 240
A full-pull plan for the provision of pharmaceuticalsp. 244
Specifying and implementing the basic full-pull ideap. 253
Justifying the plan to affluent citizens and their representativesp. 256
Last Wordsp. 262
Notesp. 265
Bibliographyp. 314
Indexp. 328
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