11 August 2017
Approximately 50.000 deaths per day are due to poverty-related causes. In contrast to the large segment of humankind that is living in extreme poverty, there is a large segment living in great affluence. According to Thomas Pogge it would cost only “around one percent of the disposable incomes of the most affluent tenth of humankind” to eradicate severe. The poor suffer more from the environmental pollution than the rich. They have less access to clean water and more often to deal with polluted air and soil. Global warming will affect many people. inhabitants of several islands already had and have to be resettled because of the rise of the sea level. What are the obligations of actors to create a more environmentally friendly global order? Many scholars argues that especially one principle is important in dealing with the climate change: the Polluter Pays Principle: “if an individual actor, X, performs an action which causes pollution, then the actor should pay for the ill-effects of that action” (Simon Caney).
Poverty and environmental degradation make global justice to one of the most pressing issues of our time. Fundamental to global justice is the question what people owe each other. To put it a bit more abstractly: “Who must do what for whom?” Because of the worldwide interconnectedness it’s a question that should be addressed on a local as well as global level.
Many scholars argue that global justice requires a commitment to human rights. According to them freedom from poverty is a human right with corresponding obligations on the world’s rich. They contend that this right is massively violated by the present world order. In many cases they defend a cosmopolitan theory of global justice, i.e. they seek to extend principles of social justice to the world as a whole. They challenge the widely held belief that we owe more to our co-citizens than to citizens in other countries. In contrast to that, other scholars present a non-cosmopolitan theory of global justice which entails that nations may justifiable claim the benefits that their decisions and polices produce. If at all, they link global justice and human rights in another way than those who advocate a cosmopolitan theory. This course will address the current controversies about the relations between global justice and human rights.
In this course you will learn:
• to reconstruct the different meanings of two contested concepts: global justice and human rights;
• to reflect on central problems related to both concepts, such as severe poverty, environmental pollution, the so-called ‘clash of cultures’, democratic deficits, the legitimacy of humanitarian interventions, the political constraints of the global justice movement and the gap between theory and practice;
• to present your ideas about a specific topic concerning global justice and human rights at a conference;
• to write a small paper (between 2000 and 3000 words).
EUR 800: Course