Associative Duties, Global Justice, and the Colonies

Lea Ypi, Robert Goodin, Christian Barry

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    52 Citations (Scopus)


    The vast majority of countries in the world have stood in an �associative relation� of a colonial sort with some other country or countries, at sometime or another. The aim of this article is to probe the implications of that brute fact for contemporary debates regarding the scope of global distributive justice. The legacy of colonialism poses huge issues of rectificatory justice as well, of course. Imposing alien rule on people, exploiting their persons, and extracting their resources are historical wrongs crying out to be put right. That is the first thing that inevitably comes to mind when thinking about justice for former colonies, and rightly so. We argue here, however, that alongside those issues of righting past wrongs there are further issues concerning the duties of and claims to distributive justice that people in colonial relations have with respect to one another during� and may retain after�colonial rule. On the �associative relations� account we shall here be discussing, duties of robust distributive justice are said to be owed to all, but only, those with whom one is linked in a political association. Everyone living within the same political association has associative duties with respect to one another. That analysis is ordinarily deployed to restrict the scope of robust distributive justice narrowly to compatriots alone. Here we argue, however, that those who are linked in political associations of a colonial sort have claims against one another under exactly that heading. Associative duties qua associative duties morally do not vary merely on account of how distant you are from those who exercise power and authority within your association. Furthermore, there are good reasons to think that at least some of those associative duties linger well beyond the colonial period itself.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)103-135
    JournalPhilosophy and Public Affairs
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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