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Law of Peoples and the duty of assistance : Rawls on redistributive justice among people

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dc.contributor.advisor Joshua Cohen. en_US
dc.contributor.author Rothkin, Karen, 1966- en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2009-06-30T18:48:57Z
dc.date.available 2009-06-30T18:48:57Z
dc.date.copyright 2000 en_US
dc.date.issued 2000 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/46280
dc.description Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2000. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (leaf 74). en_US
dc.description.abstract In The Law of Peoples (1999) Rawls offers a model of the world, divided into countries without pressures of nationalism, which he calls "peoples." If some of those peoples were liberal democracies, others consult all citizens, though not equally, and others were badly governed, what obligations would the well-ordered countries have to the badly-ordered ones? There is one class of unjust society called "burdened" that is not malicious but lacks the political traditions and institutions needed to be well-ordered, and it may also be unable to care for its citizens. Well-ordered societies owe these burdened ones a "Duty of Assistance" to help them become well-ordered. Rawls thinks that what they most need is political assistance to create just institutions, and perhaps some small, temporary economic aid for acute crises, for two reasons. Economics teaches that large-scale crises like famine or mass migration are caused by (bad) governments, and aren't inevitable consequences of drought. If a just people wants to prevent large-scale disasters, donating large amounts of cash won't help. The permanent cure is just government. Also, he denies that there are any real countries that have too few resources to support their population. If so, poverty or hunger is not inevitable anywhere, and what we call problems of poverty are really symptoms of bad government. I agree that political aid is extremely important. However, I disagree with the unimportance of material assistance. First I show that his empirical ground doesn't support an "institutions only" approach. Second, I argue that (a) primary goods are heterogeneous, and redistribution means different things for different kinds of goods, (b) needs for some of these may be adequately assured by good government, but not just burdened societies can have long-term need for others. The duty of Assistance requires redistribution of more goods, to more types of society than Rawls asserts. Third, Rawls argues that economic redistribution is an important matter for domestic justice, and not a concern at the international level. I challenge one of his illustrations, showing that it is not completely assured by a just domestic society. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Karen Rothkin. en_US
dc.format.extent 74 leaves en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7582 en_US
dc.subject Political Science. en_US
dc.title Law of Peoples and the duty of assistance : Rawls on redistributive justice among people en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree S.M. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 47856857 en_US


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