Global Poverty as a Moral Problem: Thomas Pogge on Global Justice and Human Rights

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Centrum för tillämpad etik


Global poverty is a pressing moral issue that necessitates serious moral reflection. It is inextricably connected with the issue of global justice. In today’s world where there are obvious extreme economic inequalities that impoverishes millions of people in many poor countries, the need for a sound principle of global justice is morally necessary. This thesis proposes Thomas Pogge’s idea of cosmopolitan justice as a feasible and relevant theory which can help and guide in alleviating severe worldwide poverty. Pogge emphasizes the stringent negative duty not to impose, sustain and profit from a global order that deprives the poor of their basic necessities necessary for them to lead a worthwhile human life. Many people are not aware that in participating in an unjust global order, they seriously harm the global poor more than their failure to provide assistance for the poor’s basic needs. So the greater responsibility of restructuring global order in order to meet the demands of global justice lies mainly in the hands of developed nations and their citizens who have profited from the present global arrangement and who have more than adequate means to help those who are deeply affected by extreme global economic inequalities. The stronger obligation not to harm the global poor must be performed by those who make decisions and policies at the global institutional level. They are the ones who decide the fate of the global poor and they are the ones who can easily change the rules underlying the present global order. The first step to poverty eradication and the overseeing that continuous efforts are exerted to realize this aim of helping the global poor are theirs to perform immediately. This task is not optional. It is urgent and a moral necessity.

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