Poverty and Responsibility

In Elke Mack, Michael Schramm, Stephan Klasen & Thomas Pogge (eds.), Absolute Poverty and Global Justice. Empirical Data – Moral Theories – Initiatives. Farnham & Burlington: pp. 113-121 (2009)
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Addressees of the obligation to help the destitute in cases of need are all individuals living in better circumstances, who have a shared responsibility to eradicate states of need. In order to do justice to this obligation, they have to join together and create political institutions to jointly render assistance. These institutions must be capable of attributing an appropriate share of the common responsibility to the individual persons and of enforcing the completion of the obligation. These political constructs of shared responsibility can both specify the addressee of the obligation to help and solve the problems of coordination and of excessive demands. We may thus hope that the global social ills, insofar as this is empirically possible, can be corrected or at least to significantly alleviate them.

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Stefan Gosepath
Freie Universität Berlin


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