this encyclopedia article about redistribution refers to the “subject” of redistribution, by which it means the recipients. The article mentions Rawls, who in his formulation of the concept of the “veil of ignorance” explicitly mentions nationality as a factor that is unknown to the persons creating “society”.
Where can I find a philosophical essay justifying “citizen” as a morally justifiable recipient of redistribution? This would be in contrast to an idea of a “subject” as being “a very poor person living in a different country”.
That seems to be careless words, if that is what Rawls actually said, or words reflecting the situation at the time… I think this homework/assignment question is worded so as to leave room for you to show you are aware of the current situation … what is different between then and now ?
All this big words, high philosophies… what about some simple facts … Who could be the foreigners who win the ‘restribution’ ? Who ? they do exist… who are they ?
Do you mean justification that citizens (of a given state) are the *only *justifiable recipients of welfare (of that state)? If you just want citizens to be one of the recipients, then Rawls will certainly do.
Yes. One could imagine a large economy where tax money was spent on citizens of Burundi, Malawi, …Haiti, Belize,… and then eventually to some citizens of that economy, but I don’t think that ever happens.
Rawls doesn’t use “subject” in the political sense; the subject of a monarch. He just uses it to mean the beneficiaries of the redistribution, as opposed to object, the thing that is redistributed. There is no implication that Rawls’s “subjects” are poor, disadvantaged or in a subordinate position, and I don’t think he intends any subject/citizen distinction.
You’re also using - or you seem to be using - the terms “nationality” and “citizenship” interchangeably. They aren’t, necessarily. You can have a multinational state, were individuals of different nationalities share a common citizenship.
And you also need to clarify whether confining redistribution to citizens is intended to exclude, e.g., permanent residents who work, pay taxes and generally participate in the community but don’t have legal citizenship status, or just to exclude distribution to people who actually live and participate in other communities? In other words, are you using “citizen” in the sense of legal status, or in the looser sense of denizen, inhabitant?
I previously referenced the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. One might imagine a similar document for specialist political philosophies. One could wish for a site that Bernie Sanders could direct people to that would justify his politics.
I take it as given that the current Democratic Party and especially what would be called Social Democratic and Progressive voters are in favor of high taxes and the provision of health care services, pensions, food, and education to…people. What people? That is the point. If you wanted a philosophical justification of this, you might start with Rawls, who would give his “veil” argument. But that argument does not explain why you would not first give the benefits to very poor people in other countries, rather than to poor(er) Americans, most of whom have air conditioning, TVs, internet, decent infrastructure and social institutions.
I have my suspicions about why no such coherent explanation is easy to find, or exists. Such ideas may form a later thread in Great Debates. But to start with, I though I would solicit reading suggestions.
Maybe I should add that I am not interested in explanations along the lines of “Of course we won’t give the money to them, they aren’t Americans!” Nothing in Rawls’ argument references Americans or any other people inside of geographical lines. Person A is required to pay taxes to give to person B. Person A lives in Oregon, person B in Tennessee. Why is person A not required to also pay person C (perhaps instead of B, perhaps both) who lives in Tonga?
Rawls seeks to ground social policy and government philosophically, the same agenda that Plato has in Republic. The philosophical grounding comes from Locke, who likes to use the contract as a grounding for morality.
The Original Position and the Veil of Ignorance are 2 mechanisms for creating a thought experiment that will derive a just society. Geographic boundaries aren’t central to this argument.
After applying these concepts, Rawls arrives at the Difference Principle: any move away from perfect equality can only be justified if it benefits the least off member. After flipping through Rawls’ index for a couple of minutes, I think I can call the OP’s question: “Nontopical” insofar as Rawls’ framework assumes a unitary state.
We can extend it though. If someone didn’t know what country they would be born in, what sort of principles would they prefer in the world? Now Rawls might say that moves from perfect equality between countries can be justified insofar as they make the worst resident of the worst country better off. So what about North Korea then? The worst off residents there are in pretty bad shape, but there are real limits to what the US can do about it. There simply aren’t good redistributive mechanisms in that case. So from that I would conclude that the existing international system is not a just one, according to Rawls. Which is all that he claims for his framework.
What are the proper actions of a just society embedded in an unjust international system (using definitions of justice according to Rawls, not myself)? I’m pretty sure that after construction of the proper philosophical machinery, that advanced just societies would possess large international development budgets.
Rawls gives several definitions of his key terms, as he understands that there’s a tradeoff between philosophical rigor and clarity. The OP’s question would involve delving into more advanced Rawlsian topics.
Blahdy blah. Hey OP! I think I have the cite you’re looking for: http://philosophy.fas.nyu.edu/docs/IO/1172/globaljustice.pdf
The Problem of Global Justice by Thomas Nagel