Coercion, Justification, and Inequality: Defending Global Egalitarianism

Ethics and International Affairs 29 (3):277-288 (2015)
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Michael Blake’s excellent book 'Justice and Foreign Policy' makes an important contribution to the ongoing debates about the kinds of values that should inform the foreign policy of liberal states. In this paper I evaluate his defence of the view that egalitarianism applies within the state but not globally. I discuss two arguments he gives for this claim - one appealing to the material preconditions of democracy and the other grounded in a duty to justify coercive power. I argue that neither argument succeeds. I then identify a general problem with his approach. If states adopted Blake’s principles for their foreign policy we would have a much better world than currently exists. But it would not – I submit - be a fair world.
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