In Defence of Global Egalitarianism

Journal of Global Ethics 8 (1):107-116 (2012)
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Abstract

This essay argues that David Miller's criticisms of global egalitarianism do not undermine the view where it is stated in one of its stronger, luck egalitarian forms. The claim that global egalitarianism cannot specify a metric of justice which is broad enough to exclude spurious claims for redistribution, but precise enough to appropriately value different kinds of advantage, implicitly assumes that cultural understandings are the only legitimate way of identifying what counts as advantage. But that is an assumption always or almost always rejected by global egalitarianism. The claim that global egalitarianism demands either too little redistribution, leaving the unborn and dissenters burdened with their societies' imprudent choices, or too much redistribution, creating perverse incentives by punishing prudent decisions, only presents a problem for global luck egalitarianism on the assumption that nations can legitimately inherit assets from earlier generations – again, an assumption very much at odds with global egalitarian assumptions.

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Carl Knight
University of Glasgow

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