Clean Trade, Anti-Paternalism, and Resources’ Entitlement

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In this paper, I examine whether Wenar's Bloody Oil ( 2016) succeeds in providing a theory able to accommodate the statist commitment to peoples’ sovereignty without dismissing the cosmopolitan concern regarding a just global market. Contextualising Blood Oil within the broader debate on global justice and resource ownership, I focus on some specific aspects of Wenar’s Clean Trade scheme and explain why it comes to quite radical conclusions. Yet, if these conclusions are taken seriously, Clean Trade seems too demanding from the point of view of a statist account of justice. For cosmopolitans, too, the lack of normative justification for any alleged national resource sovereignty might weaken this position, especially for those who might oppose arguments to justify different forms of resource ownership. I will therefore discuss two problems with Wenar’s theory. First, I will show that, in spite of its statist premises, Wenar’s radical conclusions hardly pass the test of anti-paternalism. Is the Clean Trade scheme able to accommodate the demand of pluralism emerging in the Society of Peoples? Second, I focus on an issue that is neglected in Wenar’s book and which refers directly to the normative basis of resources ownership. I argue that this is a crucial issue, especially in contexts where the traditional idea of national sovereignty is contested, which often occurs in resource-cursed societies.
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Archival date: 2018-10-23
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