Global Equality: A Normative Defence with Practical Considerations

Title: Global Equality: A Normative Defence with Practical Considerations
Authors: Hawkins, Michelle
Date: 2015
Abstract: In this thesis I aim to build a normative argument for equality of access to advantage at the global level, and motivate action conducive to the realization of this ideal. The normative argument is presented over the course of the first two chapters. In Chapter One I ask, ‘How should we conceive of distributive equality?’ Following G.A. Cohen, I argue that equality is best conceived as equality of access to advantage. I interpret this to require equal access to both ‘worldly autonomy’—a term I invoke to describe a certain basic threshold level of autonomy—and subjective preference satisfaction. In Chapter Two, I establish a justificatory basis for equality on a global scale. I argue that equality is justified at the global level on the basis of justice as reciprocity for the mutual provision of the global system of state-enforced borders, in which the participation of all people is equally necessary, and that makes possible a wide variety of institutional goods predominately enjoyed by people in rich developed countries. In Chapter Three, I take up the second aim of the thesis: to motivate action conducive to the realization of this global distributive ideal. I engage the concern that global equality is a poor ideal, demanding too much change in the attitudes and lifestyles of the well-off to motivate them to pursue it. I aim to show that, even if most people are not motivated to pursue global equality, there are alternative grounds for immediately feasible global reforms and redistributions likely to have greater motivational purchase on people’s sensibilities. Alternative grounds for redistribution and reform include reparative justice, cooperative justice, respect for basic human rights, and self-interest. Making these redistributions and reforms would not only be desirable from the perspective of the alternative grounds that explain them, but will have the further happy result of bringing the world closer to the global distributive ideal of equality of access to advantage. Plausibly, it will bring the world sufficiently close to this ideal that people will be motivated to pursue it for its own sake.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -