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Poverty, negative duties and the global institutional order.

Reitberger, Magnus
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) Politics, Philosophy and Economics. 7(4):379-402.

Do we violate human rights when we cooperate with and impose a global
institutional order that engenders extreme poverty? Thomas Pogge argues that
by shaping and enforcing the social conditions that foreseeably and avoidably
cause global poverty we are violating the negative duty not to cooperate in the
imposition of a coercive institutional order that avoidably leaves human rights
unfulfilled. This article argues that Pogge’s argument fails to distinguish
between harms caused by the global institutions themselves and harms caused
by the domestic policies of particular states and collective action problems for
which collective responsibility cannot be assigned. The article also argues that
his position relies on questionable factual and theoretical claims about the
impact of global institutions on poverty, and about the benefits and harms of
certain features of these institutions. Participation in, and benefit from, global
institutions is unlikely to constitute a violation of our negative duties towards
the poor. (author’s abstract)


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