Global Distributive Justice

“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” – Aristotle

There are 196 countries in the world. 25 of them are very rich, defined as having an average wealth per person of over $100,000 a year. Unfortunately, far more countries are quite poor where the per capital wealth is under $1000 a year, or under three dollars a day.

Now, you might wonder why some countries are wealthier than others, and from where this significant difference emerges.

Some of the main reasons as to why countries are rich and others poor, highly depends on the quality of their institutions, and thus, the level of corruption, the culture they have, the access to natural resources or even colonialism.

We, who are living in the richest parts of the world, have been benefiting a lot throughout the years. We take advantage of what is offered to us, enjoy our lifestyle, and tend to neglect the rest of the world.

Statistics show that poor countries have been subsidising the wealth of rich countries. But shouldn’t it be the other way round?

The simple fact that the richest 1% of the world, have so much more than everybody else, is already shocking. Even though, we always seem to debate about inequality these days, very little action is actually undertaken towards improvement.

The way I see it, things are way worse than we could have ever expected them to be.

The link to the global distributive justice lies in here. It is essentially concerned with the rules and principles determining how societies allocate goods, services, and incomes.

I strongly support the idea that each individual’s interests and necessities should be met by a certain amount of commodities in such a way, that each one will have an equal standard of living with respect to the basic needs of life. In my opinion, there should be equality among societies. Just because one was born in a poor family should not be punished for it by receiving nothing in return.

We should support each other in difficult times and try to adjust the unfair distribution of wealth.

After having researched more into depth about the different theories on justice, it allowed me to adopt an even more secure position of what I believe our world ought to be.

Trapped between the two main approaches, I choose to defend the globalists, who believe differences between states should not exist, over the statists, who adopt different principles of justice between nations. For this, I support Pogge and Singer’s points of view, that we should think of our world as a whole, as one unit. And thus, apply the same principles globally without any restrictions.

Suppose, an international company practices distributive justice. For every extra hour of work, their employees get compensated. For instance, what happens when you have worked 20 extra hours this week and received €300, while your co-worker in New-York only worked 10 extra hours and received €350. Does the firm still exercise justice? Not only should there be social equality, but also employment equality.

To conclude, it is extremely important to consider the following when thinking about global distributive justice: ‘What should we distribute? Who should we distribute it to? Following what types of allocation?’




Alternatives to Rationalist Ethical Theories

“Ethics without virtue is an illusion. What is the highest purpose of ethics? It is to make a person good, that is virtuous.” – Peter Kreeft

“Moral theories that give greater priority to qualities of character and practical reasoning than to moral rules or outcomes”. After reading this, you might wonder to what theory does this definition refer to. It took me a while to understand its significance, and properly relate it to the doctrine of virtue ethics. I learned that virtue ethics tries to accentuate the traits of character in moral philosophy rather than one’s duty. Like in any other theory, people have expressed praise or criticism.

What I personally find very intriguing is that virtue ethicists took their inspiration from Aristotle, for whom “virtue was often about finding a middle way between excess and lack.” Moreover, he claimed that “a virtuous person is someone who has ideal character traits”, for which I totally support his point of view.

As you probably already know, we live in a highly competitive society in which there are more and more people who believe that a virtuous person is considered as good when he or she acts in a way which has been imposed by society. In other words, you believe what you believe because of your surrounding environment. You think and reason in a certain way because of your culture. But what most of us don’t understand is the fact that virtue ethics relies on anything but on religion, society or culture. It fully and entirely depends on the individuals themselves.

I moreover believe that people should increase their confidence, and for instance, change the way they perform tasks in their everyday life. They should not adopt a certain move just because society tells to do so. Instead, we should fight for our own personal beliefs, and ask ourselves “What sort of person should I become”, rather than “What should I do?” because it has more to do with character and nature of what it is to be human, than with the rights and wrongs of our actions. It is all about finding a way to become a better person.

If one asks me: “What should we do in order to become a better person?”. We should simply practice more virtuous acts on a regular basis. This will become a habit, part of our everyday life. As a result, we will start leading a virtuous life. For example, if a person is passionate about art, he will want to learn more and more about the subject every day. He will become better at it by practicing his virtues. Most of all, it will lead him to happiness.