Nora Y. Ng and Jennifer Prah Ruger, "Global Justice," in Bruce Jennings (ed.), Bioethics, 4th edition, vol. 3, pp. 1353-1362. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2014.
10 Pages Posted: 21 May 2014
Date Written: 2014
The experience of human life differs dramatically depending on where one lives in the world. While many of those in wealthier countries can expect decent nutrition, housing, education, and health care, those in the poorest countries live under extraordinary poverty and hardship, without minimally adequate provision of life’s necessities. One may be condemned to a fleeting and destitute existence simply by the morally arbitrary accident of birth location and no fault of one’s own. Is there a duty to rectify this state of affairs? Is a duty owed universally to all persons, or is duty confined within associative boundaries of communities or nations? What is the extent of this duty — how much help must be given? To whom do duties belong? Theories of global justice seek to address these questions.
Material and health deprivations are not the only concerns of global justice, which also encompasses human rights and the operation and accountability of non-state global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. The focus of this entry, however, will be on global distributive justice in global health. Global justice theories can be classed into four main perspectives: realism, particularism, social contractarianism (society of states), and cosmopolitanism. The idea of “global justice” is controversial. Indeed, some theories deny altogether the applicability of justice in the global realm. This grouping of perspectives is not definitive. The list here is based on the different implications of each perspective on the existence, scope, and assignment of global justice duties. Perspectives are ordered by the degree to which each recognizes global justice duties.
Keywords: global justice, justice, realism, IMF, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, WTO, World Trade Organization, global health, distributive justice, particularism, social contractarianism, cosmopolitanism
JEL Classification: I18, I12, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation