Informations and abstract
Keywords: Global Justice; Pogge; Causes of Poverty; Human Rights; Negative Duties; Responsibility.
In this paper I analyze the theory of global justice elaborated by Thomas Pogge in "World Poverty and Human Rights. Responsibilities and Cosmopolitan Reforms", and in other more recent articles. In broad terms, I argue that both the empirical and normative framework of this theory are prima facie plausibile and adequate to evaluate world poverty. First, the focus on the global institutional order and its causal relation to global poverty is fundamental for both not misinterpreting global poverty as a natural fact, and avoiding the fallacy of explanatory nationalism. Second, the adoption of a human right perspective seems to capture what is really at stake when we talk about the poorest. Third, the notions of negative duty and responsibility allow us to properly understand global poverty as the violation of strong duties of justice by rich and liberal democracies, and not as a problem of generic assistance. Nonetheless, I show that the specific elaborations of these ideas and concepts provided by Pogge are questionable and need to be revised (§ 1). In particular, I claim that the causal explanation of global poverty proposed by Pogge is flawed, because it exhibits a form of explanatory globalism, neglects some factors that are determinant in the reproduction of world poverty, and wrongly frames the discourse on international privileges (§ 2). I then examine the conception of human rights developed by Pogge, and object that it wrongly rejects the need of their juridification, incoherently excludes the positive rights of the poorest, and employs a notion of violation of a human right that is too broad and not well proved (§ 3). In § 4 I examine his idea of negative duties and state that it is incoherent, not well justified, and even misleading. In § 5 I take into account his concept of responsibility, and highlight that it is tied to a questionable participatory model. Lastly, I suggest how to overcome some of the aforementioned difficulties.