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Durham e-Theses
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Duties to Burdened Societies: A Challenge to the Rawlsian
Internationalist Account of Nations’ Global Responsibilities

PEDERSEN, JESPER,LERKE (2016) Duties to Burdened Societies: A Challenge to the Rawlsian
Internationalist Account of Nations’ Global Responsibilities.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis contributes to the literature on duties of global justice by critically examining the Rawlsian internationalist account of duties of development assistance. Internationalists argue that two distinct spheres of justice exist: The domestic sphere, where demanding, often egalitarian duties, are owed between citizens, and the global sphere where much less demanding duties are owed to non-citizens. Among those, however, is an obligation to help the world’s poorest countries, called burdened societies, develop. This thesis argues that even if we accept the internationalist framework as a whole, this duty of development is more demanding than its proponents assume. It does so by, first, examining the normative assumptions behind the duty, namely how basic human rights are understood, at what point countries cease to be burdened, and what role national self-respect and self-reliance play. Second, it questions the role that domestic government institutions play in determining whether or not a country develops. And third, it examines the effect that the history of past injustices, colonial or otherwise, towards the least developed countries has on our present-day duties. In making this argument the thesis does not attempt to provide a single authoritative version of internationalism, but instead acknowledges the breadth of views within the literature.

Although primarily a work of normative political philosophy, this work places a great emphasis on empirical work to illustrate and inform my argument. This takes two forms. First, it undertakes an extensive review of the development economics literature about the likely positive and negative effects of outside assistance in least developed countries. And second, to test the claim that quality of domestic institutions is the overarching determinant of development, it conducts a statistical analysis of 102 countries using fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fs/QCA).

In doing so, the thesis justifies a thicker and more encompassing duty of development which is nonetheless compatible with internationalist account of global justice. As such, it also provides an outline of how rich, developed states can and ought to act in the present.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:"global justice"; "duties of development"; "burdened societies"; "internationalism"; "QCA"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Oct 2016 08:36

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