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Volume 28 • Number 3

July 2014



Globalization, Global Justice, and Global Health Impact

by Nicole Hassoun

How can we promote global justice in the face of globalization? Given that millions of people are unable to secure basic necessities like adequate food, water, shelter, education, and health care, answering this question is incredibly important.

     There are many possible ways of trying to arrive at an adequate answer. On one approach, we should consider what justice requires in the absence of any institutional constraints or even reflection on the fact of globalization. Alternately, we can consider how to make existing practices and institutions more just, taking facts seriously. Some worry that the latter approach is unduly conservative and may amount to activist political philosophy. Yet the prescriptions for institutional change one arrives at may be just as radical as those one would arrive at considering what justice requires without taking the existence of any institutions as given. One might argue for reworking or replacing all current institutions. Moreover, even if one only recommends some minor modifications of existing institutional frameworks, that may be compatible with accepting the conclusion that things would be better, or more just, with an entirely different set of institutions or practices in place. It is, of course, impossible to adequately address all of the worries about the empirically grounded methodological approach to arguing about global justice I prefer in a single essay, never mind all of the great substantive objections that have been raised to my approach to global justice even in this issue of PAQ (though see http:// for some preliminary replies to some of them). Let me just state my position on this issue here. I believe that to achieve positive change, it is important to give arguments that appeal to premises that are broadly acceptable (as well as true). In international affairs, many embrace realist, statist, or libertarian theories on which there are limited (if any) obligations to provide positive aid to the global poor—even to meet their most basic needs for things like clean water, adequate nutrition, and basic medical care.

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ISSN: 2152-0542