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On Global Justice
Mathias Risse

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013

Paperback | 2015 | $29.95 | ($20.97) / £19.95 | (£13.97) | ISBN: 9780691166681
480 pp. | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Hardcover | 2012 | $55.00 | ($38.50) / £37.95 | (£26.57) | ISBN: 9780691142692
480 pp. | 6 x 9
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Debates about global justice have traditionally fallen into two camps. Statists believe that principles of justice can only be held among those who share a state. Those who fall outside this realm are merely owed charity. Cosmopolitans, on the other hand, believe that justice applies equally among all human beings. On Global Justice shifts the terms of this debate and shows how both views are unsatisfactory. Stressing humanity's collective ownership of the earth, Mathias Risse offers a new theory of global distributive justice--what he calls pluralist internationalism--where in different contexts, different principles of justice apply.

Arguing that statists and cosmopolitans seek overarching answers to problems that vary too widely for one single justice relationship, Risse explores who should have how much of what we all need and care about, ranging from income and rights to spaces and resources of the earth. He acknowledges that especially demanding redistributive principles apply among those who share a country, but those who share a country also have obligations of justice to those who do not because of a universal humanity, common political and economic orders, and a linked global trading system. Risse's inquiries about ownership of the earth give insights into immigration, obligations to future generations, and obligations arising from climate change. He considers issues such as fairness in trade, responsibilities of the WTO, intellectual property rights, labor rights, whether there ought to be states at all, and global inequality, and he develops a new foundational theory of human rights.

Mathias Risse is professor of philosophy and public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


"Risse's On Global Justice is a definitive account of justice as a responsibility extending beyond national borders and international institutions to encompass all human life through shared experience and common humanity. . . . This book is likely to become a primary resource for theorists and participants in global policy and human rights institutions."--Choice

"The book . . . addresses questions of great importance and offers an original and challenging perspective on how to approach them."--Adam Hosein, Political Science Quarterly

"This is an important book. International economic lawyers sensitive to moral and political philosophy should not ignore it. Each of its chapters contains many significant insights. . . . Risse has made a significant contribution."--John Linarelli, Journal of International Economic Law

"This book . . . displays a scholarly rigor and philosophical depth that renders much of the existing literature in this area obsolete. . . . I have no doubt that this book will come to play a central role in normative theorizing about global justice for some time to come."--Daniel Savery, Political Studies Review


"Risse's new book is ambitious in scope and diverse in intellectual resources. In his explorations of the leading questions of international justice, he is admirably sensitive to the wide range of grounds--including common humanity and natural, social, and political relationships--that ought to shape the answers. His account of common ownership of the earth diversifies our historical resources as well, by putting Grotius's work to use in addressing deep, current controversies."--Richard Miller, Cornell University

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