Multinational Corporations and Global Justice: Human Rights Obligations of a Quasi-Governmental Institution

By Florian Wettstein | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Agents of Global Justice

ALTHOUGH THE PREVIOUS CHAPTERS defined principles of global justice and clarified the conceptual basis for the derivation of corresponding obligations, we still do not know for whom these principles must ultimately be prescriptive, that is, who must be held responsible for remedying global injustices and for whose actions human development must be the ultimate guiding ideal. Who, In other words, are the agents that must deliver on the realization of the rights of the deprived masses living on this planet?

Evidently, solving the problem of imperfect obligations once and for all by providing a conclusive list of agents and their corresponding duties regarding global injustices cannot be the goal of this chapter. The shape and extent of obligations of justice are dependent on the specifics of a situation and the agents we hold responsible. Therefore, it is possible only to provide aheuristic, that is, an abstract view of how to identify possible candidates in concrete cases. We cannot, however, specify their concrete obligations a priori. The condition of reasonableness on which such obligations ultimately depend is by definition subject to public deliberation.

At this point there are two basic options for continuing the argument. The first possibility is to develop an ideal theory regarding what agents and agencies would be responsible for achieving cosmopolitan justice under ideal circumstances. Such a theory would deal with equally ideal institutions with potentially little connection to the actual structure of society in the here and now. Examples of suchideal theories are ones that typically deal with the creation of a world state or a world government. The second option is to take existing institutions as the point of departure and reflect on their potentially

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