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THE MORALITY OF SANCTIONS

  • James Pattison (a1)
Abstract
Abstract:

Economic sanctions have been subject to extensive criticism. They are often seen as indiscriminate, intending the harms that they inflict, and using the suffering of the innocent as a means to enact policy change. Indeed, some reject outright the permissibility of economic sanctions. By contrast, in this essay, I defend the case for economic sanctions. I argue that sanctions are not necessarily morally problematic and, in doing so, argue that sanctions are less morally problematic than is often claimed. I go on to argue that sanctions may sometimes be morally preferable to the leading alternatives and, in particular, to wars and doing nothing. This is in part because sanctions are more likely to distribute fairly the currently inevitable harms to innocents of tackling aggression and mass atrocities. In the final part of the essay, I draw on this point to argue more generally that that we should often favor a “Harm-Distribution Approach” in the ethics of war and peace.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

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Jeff McMahan , “The Just Distribution of Harm Between Combatants and Noncombatants” Philosophy & Public Affairs 38, no. 4 (2010): 342–79.

James Pattison , “Bombing the Beneficiaries: The Distribution of the Costs of the Responsibility to Protect and Humanitarian Intervention,” in Don Scheid , ed., The Ethics of Armed Humanitarian Intervention (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 113–30.

Margaret P. Doxey , International Sanctions in Contemporary Perspective, 2nd ed. (London: MacMillan, 1996), 6670.

Jeff McMahan , “What Rights May be Defended by Means of War?” in Cecile Fabre and Seth Lazar , eds., The Morality of Defensive War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 115–56

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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