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Paternalism beyond Borders
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Book description

Nearly all of those who want to make the world a better place are engaged in paternalism. This book asks how power is intertwined with practices of global compassion. It argues that the concept of paternalism illuminates how care and control are involved in the everyday practices of humanitarianism, human rights, development and other projects designed to improve the lives of others. The authors explore whether and how the paternalism of the nineteenth century differs from the paternalism of today, and offer a provocative look at the power in global ethics, raising the question of whether, when, and how paternalism can be justified.

Reviews

'We all want to end world poverty and misery. But who is this 'we,' and who put us in charge? This brilliant volume shows how the humanitarian movement, despite progress against the old racism and colonialism, remains too often oblivious to who has the power and who does not. As a result, it argues, paternalism is alive and well. The logic of humanitarian action can overwhelm the best of anti-paternalist intentions. The volume offers no easy answers but it will leave the reader with a greatly enriched understanding of the values of dignity and autonomy for every individual everywhere.'

William Easterly - New York University

'Humanitarians use their resources and expertise to try to do what they see as good in the world, but sometimes bulldoze over the preferences and customs of the people they want to help.  Michael N. Barnett's crew of knowledgeable contributors illuminates their penetrating ethical analysis with real dilemmas that aid professionals face in Congo, Darfur, Gaza and other zones of conflict or abuse. Few books on any topic are as effective in breathing life into serious normative analysis through subtly contextualized case studies.'

Jack Snyder - Columbia University

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