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Coercion and (Global) Justice


In this article, I develop a new account of the liberal view that principles of justice (in general) are meant to justify state coercion, and consider its implications for the question of global socioeconomic justice (in particular). Although contemporary proponents of this view deny that principles of socioeconomic justice apply globally, on my newly developed account this conclusion is mistaken. I distinguish between two types of coercion, systemic and interactional, and argue that a plausible theory of global justice should contain principles justifying both. The justification of interactional coercion requires principles regulating interstate interference; that of systemic coercion requires principles of global socioeconomic justice. I argue that the proposed view not only helps us make progress in the debate on global justice, but also offers an independently compelling and systematic account of the function and conditions of applicability of justice.

Corresponding author
Laura Valentini is Junior Research Fellow in Politics, Queen's College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK OX1 4AW. (
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Gillian Brock . 2009. Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Account. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Simon Caney . 2005. Justice beyond Borders: A Global Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ian Carter . 1999. A Measure of Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Christopher Kutz . 2000. Complicity: Ethics and Law for a Collective Age. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Christian List , and Philip Pettit . 2011. Group Agency. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

David Miller . 2007. National Responsibility and Global Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Onora O'Neill . 1991. “Which Are the Offers You Can't Refuse?” In Violence, Terrorism, and Justice, eds. R. G. Frey and Christopher Morris . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 170–95.

Laura Valentini . 2009. “Cosmopolitan or Social Liberal? Review of D. Miller, National Responsibility and Global Justice.” Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric 1 (2): 5053.

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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