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Responding to Global Poverty
Harm, Responsibility, and Agency


  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108729987

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About the Authors
  • This book explores the nature of moral responsibilities of affluent individuals in the developed world, addressing global poverty and arguments that philosophers have offered for having these responsibilities. The first type of argument grounds responsibilities in the ability to avert serious suffering by taking on some cost. The second argument seeks to ground responsibilities in the fact that the affluent are contributing to such poverty. The authors criticise many of the claims advanced by those who seek to ground stringent responsibilities to the poor by invoking these two types of arguments. It does not follow from this that the affluent are meeting responsibilities to the poor. The book argues that while people are not ordinarily required to make large sacrifices in assisting others in severe need, they are required to incur moderate costs to do so. If the affluent fail consistently to meet standards, this fact can substantially increase the costs they are required to bear in order to address it.

    • Considers not only what the affluent ought to do for the poor but also what the poor can do if the affluent fail in their responsibilities
    • Explores the empirical bases of claims such as the affluent being able to easily assist the poor by contributing to NGOs or state administered aid programs
    • Includes a rich interplay of normative arguments as well as providing a consideration of empirical social science
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In sum, this book has great value as an overview of the global justice literature and as a rigorous exposition of the key categories involved in doing, allowing, and enabling harm. Students of the field or, for that matter, nonstudents who want to know what political theory has to offer on the subject of global poverty, will find Responding to Global Poverty invaluable; no better summary of what analytical political theory has to offer is available.' Chris Brown, Ethics and International Affairs

    '… the book is invaluable in bringing together often disconnected debates from the philosophy of action, global justice, the philosophy of law and practical ethics, helping the reader to comprehend the conceptual building blocks and moral structure of the pressing problem of global poverty. In their effort to offer a coherent conceptual framework, the authors appear at times as trying to fit the various strands of the debate into a single straightjacket. In conclusion, the book will repay careful reading by anyone interested in understanding the complexity of global poverty, in particular advanced undergraduate and graduate students of the social sciences and philosophy, as well as policy makers and those working in the field who are interested in a more sophisticated account.' George Pavlakos, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108729987
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: assistance-based and contribution-based responsibilities to address global poverty
    Part I. Assistance-Based Responsibilities:
    2. Assistance-based responsibilities
    3. The implications of failing to assist
    4. Assistance-based responsibilities in the real world
    Part II. Contribution-Based Responsibilities:
    5. The doing, allowing and enabling distinction
    6. Giving rise to cost and the doing, allowing and enabling distinction
    7. The feasible alternatives thesis: Pogge on contribution-based responsibilities to the poor
    8. Contribution-based responsibilities and trade
    Part III. Implications of Contribution:
    9. The implications of contributing to global poverty
    10. Assuming responsibility for harm
    11. Contribution-based responsibilities and overdetermination.

  • Authors

    Christian Barry, Australian National University, Canberra
    Christian Barry is Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University, Canberra. His research focuses on closing the gap between theory and practice in international justice. He previously worked at the United Nations Development Programme and at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. His recent work includes International Trade and Labour Standards: A Proposal for Linkage (with Sanjay Reddy, 2008), and articles in Philosophy and Public Affairs, the Journal of Political Philosophy, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, the Review of International Studies, International Affairs, and the Journal of Applied Philosophy.

    Gerhard Øverland, Universitetet i Oslo
    Gerhard Øverland (1964–2014) was Professor of Philosophy at Universitetet i Oslo. He published widely in moral theory and philosophy of war, including articles in Ethics, the Journal of Moral Philosophy, Bioethics, and the European Journal of Philosophy.

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