Political Theory of Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Case for the World State

Political Theory of Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Case for the World State

Political Theory of Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Case for the World State

Political Theory of Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Case for the World State

Synopsis

Could global government be the answer to global poverty and starvation? Cosmopolitan thinkers challenge the widely held belief that we owe more to our co-citizens than to those in other countries. This book offers a moral argument for world government, claiming that not only do we have strong obligations to people elsewhere, but that accountable integration among nation-states will help ensure that all persons can lead a decent life. Cabrera considers both the views of those political philosophers who say we have much stronger obligations to help our co-citizens than foreigners and those cosmopolitans who say our duties are equally strong to each but resist restructuring.

Excerpt

This is a book about world government. It offers a moral argument for helping the global impoverished improve their lives through progressive, democratically accountable integration between states. But it is not only a book about world government. It also is concerned with the forces of economic integration that increasingly have impact on all our lives. It is concerned with the kinds of pragmatic, near-term changes that could make bodies such as the World Trade Organization more transparent and democratically accountable, and especially with the ways such changes could promote near-term improvements in the lives of the least affluent.

As a former staff reporter for The Associated Press in Seattle, I covered the watershed protests at the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial meeting. Like the local police, ministerial planners and those who watched the clouds of tear gas rise on their television sets, I was stunned by the organization and sheer size of the convergence. Some 50,000 activists filled the streets. Delegates from more than 120 wto member states, who had themselves converged on Seattle in hopes of deepening the global trade constitution through a new round of negotiations, were shut out of their own opening ceremonies. Police began shooting pepper spray and canisters of tear gas into the crowds, and suddenly the World Trade Organization, a formerly obscure international regulatory body, became global headline news.

I had already been working for some time as a graduate student on the project that would become this book, and I had been immersed in the activist literature on corporate-led globalization. My reaction to the literature, and then the protests, was one of mostly bewilderment. I wondered why most demonstrators I interviewed were demanding that trade negotiators call off the new round and go home, rather than demanding that civil society be allowed a seat at the table. Why weren't there more groups calling for the WTO's supranational powers to be used to help improve the lives of those in less affluent states by linking membership benefits to observance of labor and environmental standards, as well as core human rights? Many groups were, of course, demanding specific reforms, including the kind of democratic accountability that could help to put more

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