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Globalizing Justice: The Ethics of Poverty and Power [Paperback]

Richard W. Miller

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Book Description

13 May 2010
Combining deep moral argument with extensive factual inquiry, Richard Miller constructs a new account of international justice. Though a critic of demanding principles of kindness toward the global poor and an advocate of special concern for compatriots, he argues for standards of responsible conduct in transnational relations that create vast unmet obligations. Governments, firms and people in developed countries, above all, the United States, by failing to live up to these responsibilities, take advantage of people in developing countries.

Miller's proposed standards of responsible conduct offer answers to such questions as: What must be done to avoid exploitation in transnational manufacturing? What framework for world trade and investment would be fair? What duties do we have to limit global warming? What responsibilities to help meet basic needs arise when foreign powers steer the course of development? What obligations are created by uses of violence to sustain American global power?

Globalizing Justice provides new philosophical foundations for political responsibility, a unified agenda of policies for responding to major global problems, a distinctive appraisal of 'the American empire', and realistic strategies for a global social movement that helps to move humanity toward genuine global cooperation.

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Richard Miller has given us a work of great political urgency concentrating on the political responsibilities of citizens of wealthy and powerful societies who interact with the worlds poor through a complex network of transactions and relationships. The theoretical position he defends is fresh and original and will lead many readers to reconsider conventional ways of thinking about global justice. It will also encourage them to engage more deeply with the literatures of world politics and global political economy, which inform the argument throughout. No other recent book on Miller's subject displays a similar combination of philosophical imagination and deep engagement in the realities of global political and economic life. (Charles Beitz, Princeton University)

In his attempt to discover what obligations citizens of rich countries have to those in the developing world, Miller breaks a new path between radical cosmopolitanism and fair bargaining. Filled with concrete historical detail as well as philosophizing, this book is a superb example of applied ethics. Its recommendations cannot be ignored by those of us who are critical of American foreign policy, but do not know exactly what alternative to advocate. The global-warming discussion is particularly enlightening (John Roemer, Yale University)

Where Miller distinguishes himself is in his political analysis...The depth of his engagement sets a new standard for combining rigorous work in applied ethics with a detailed analysis of world politics, which all those working in international political theory will be hard pressed to meet. (Joseph Hoover, International Affairs)

Richard Miller establishes a thesis about global justice that should have been obvious for a long time ... Among other things, through his extensive study of the research done on the Iraq War, the reader will see how the U.S., the paradigm controlling developed country, has done things to maintain its power, things considerably out of proportion with the demands of global justice. Thank you Richard Miller for articulating this point with empirical and conceptual power! (Joel Dittmer, Philosophy in Review)

About the Author

Richard Miller is Professor of Philosophy at Cornell University.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars groundbreaking and impressive 23 Nov 2010
By nanette funk - Published on
A groundbreaking book on global justice that makes a significant contribution to the existing literature. Miller displays an extraordinary combination of philosophical vision, powerful argumentation, and impressive mastery of a very broad body of relevant factual material. This is not a book of pure ideal theory but one that grapples with the most serious issues of our globalized world. It contains a very fair, clear and persuasive assessment of rival theories of international justice. Miller takes very seriously the demands of relationships both within and across borders. The book shows a broad ranging moral imagination and wide ranging knowledge of international responsibilities as emerging from global interactions. I learned much from his account of the complexities of the issues of climate change, and his rigorous, nuanced and clear arguments. Miller remains true to the complexities of the issues without pulling his punches politically and morally on the implications for the American empire and globalization. His vision of global moral progress was realistic and inspiring. A first rate book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative, Engaging, and Path-breaking 29 Nov 2010
By Dean Christensen - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an eagerly awaited book which is destined to make a big splash not only in the scholarly community interested in global justice but in the real world of domestic and foreign policies. Written with exceptional clarity and an engaging writing style, the book is accessible to the serious scholars and general readers alike. A leading figure in the debate on global justice, Miller exhibits a bold yet nuanced approach to some of the urgent issues of our time, such as poverty, development, human rights, global warming, global inequity, and international obligations, with great care for the theoretical subtleties and the practical details. In his sensitive and innovative quest to find the global reach of the principle of beneficence, Miller redefines patriotism in a global world and cosmopolitanism in a fragmented globe. This is applied ethics at its best. With the publication of this path-breaking book, political philosophy will never be the same.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book 28 Nov 2010
By Lynette Sieger - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Richard Miller's book is arguably the most important contribution to the growing literature in political philosophy on the question of citizenship duties and global justice. With an eye toward balancing the demands of citizenship with global human development, Richard Miller's Globalizing Justice moves toward offering a substantive normative view and practical approach to the pressing issue of responsibility to the global poor. Miller argues that the developed world has benefited from exploiting the disadvantaged position of the poor in global arrangements and interactions. From this Miller advocates for satisfying political obligations to the global poor that are currently grossly neglected. Miller's book is the most probing and delightfully readable response to these urgent issues of our time.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Persuasive 27 Nov 2010
By J.R. - Published on
Richard Miller shows that demanding duties of global justice arise from developed societies' use (and abuse) of their political, economic, and military power. Miller's book offers a refreshingly original approach to questions about global justice. It is both deeply engaged with the facts of international political economy and with the emerging philosophical literature on global justice. This is an example of the best that contemporary political philosophy has to offer. Anyone who has hope for the future of American foreign policy would do well to turn to Miller's outstanding book.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold and Compelling 29 Nov 2010
By Donna Dinsdale - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Richard Miller gives us a lot think about as citizens of an affluent and powerful country in a world of poverty and deprivation. As a general reader in political philosophy with a particular interest in global justice and American foreign policy, reading this book compels me to think about the standard issues of justice, power, and politics in a new light. Written with extraordinary care and empathy, this scholarly book transcends the narrow limits of academic scholarship and provides us with a powerful guide in gauging and assessing our patriotic duties and global obligations. Miller's scathing critique of the excesses of the US imperialistic policies contrary to the professed American ideals of human rights and fair engagement is bold and refreshing. This book is a must read not only for scholars in ethics, political philosophy, political theory, international law, and development economics, but for policy makers and political leaders as well as general readers interested in the moral dimensions of poverty, power, and affluence. The book is a wake up call for all of us. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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