The problem of global distributive justice in Rawls’s The Law of Peoples

Main Article Content

Marta Soniewicka


The essay "The Problem of Global Distributive Justice in The Law of Peoples by John Rawls" is concerned with the question of distributive claims of justice in the global realm. The conception of international justice developed by John Rawls in his book The Law of Peoples offers a very limited kind of distribution of goods beyond state borders, where the matter of the distribution of wealth is restricted to a single state. The Rawlsian point of view is frequently objected to by proponents of so-called cosmopolitanism, like Thomas Pogge or Charles Beitz, who argue for globalizing Rawlsian justice as fairness. Five objections that may be raised against the Rawlsian idea of limiting the scope of distributive justice are analysed: (1) the consistency problem; (2) the status of the principles of the law of peoples; (3) the method of justification; (4) the self-sufficiency of states; and (5) tolerance.


Barry [1991] – B. Barry, Liberty and Justice. Essays in Political Theory 2, Oxford 1991.

Beitz [1979] – Ch. Beitz, Political Theory and International Relations, Princeton University Press 1979.

Blake [2005] – M. Blake, International Justice, [in:] Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

Buchanan [2004] – A. Buchanan, Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law, Oxford 2004.

Kant [1999] – I. Kant, Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, trans. H.B. Nisbet, [in:] H. Reiss (ed.), Political Writings, Cambridge University Press, New York 1999, p. 93- 130.

Nozick [1974] – R. Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia, Basic Books Inc., New York 1974.

O’Neill [2003] – O. O’Neill, Bounds of Justice, Cambridge University Press 2003.

Pogge [1989] – T. Pogge, Realizing Rawls, Cornell University Press 1989.

Pogge [2005] – T. Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights. Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms, Polity Press 2005.

Rawls [1999a] – J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Revised Edition, Oxford 1999.

Rawls [1999b] – J. Rawls, Collected Papers, (ed.) S. Freeman, Harvard University Press 1999.

Rawls [1999c] – J. Rawls, Law of Peoples, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA 1999.

Singer [1972] – P. Singer, Famine, Affluence and Morality, “Philosophy and Public Affairs”, 1 (1972), pp. 229-43.

Singer [2002] – P. Singer, One World: The Ethics of Globalization, Yale University Press, New Haven 2002.

Tan [2000] – K.-C. Tan, Toleration, Diversity, and Global Justice, The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pennsylvania 2000.

Walzer [1985] – M. Walzer, Spheres of Justice. A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, Oxford 1985.

Walzer [1999] – M. Walzer, O tolerancji [On Toleration], trans. T. Baszniak, PIW, Warszawa 1999.

Walzer [2006] – M. Walzer, Polityka i namiętność. O bardziej egalitarny liberalizm [Politics and Passion], trans. H. Jankowska, MUZA S.A., Warszawa 2006.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
SONIEWICKA, M. The problem of global distributive justice in Rawls’s The Law of Peoples. Diametros, n. 17, p. 45-59, 1 set. 2008.