Discharging the moral responsibility for collective unjust enrichment in the global economy

Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 36 (1):139-158 (2021)
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In this article we wonder how a person can discharge the political responsibility for supporting and benefiting from unjust social structures. Firstly, we introduce the concept of structural injustice and defend it against three possible objections: ‘explanatory nationalism’, a diachronic interpretation of the benefits of industry-led growth, being part of a social structure does not automatically mean being responsible for its negative consequences. Then, we hold that both Iris Marion Young’s ‘social connection model’ and Robin Zheng’s ‘role-ideal model’ provide clear indications on how to unload responsibility for supporting/participating in unjust social structures, but fail to explain how to get rid of responsibility for unjust enrichment. We maintain that both models should be complemented with a global redistributive scheme that allows to disgorge the benefits that are unfairly obtained in the global economic system, besides undertaking collective transformative actions and assuming ideal-role responsibilities.

Author Profiles

Fausto Corvino
Université Catholique de Louvain


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