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Global Poverty, Structural Injustice and Obligations to take Political Action

Kahn, Elizabeth (2013) Global Poverty, Structural Injustice and Obligations to take Political Action. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This work considers the moral obligations agents have in relation to global poverty. Utilising a practical ethics approach, it aims to provide an account of obligation that is explicitly political. It proposes that moral decency requires agents to be concerned with the justice of the social structures to which they contribute. Unjust social structures are treated as the aggregative effect of many human actions and institutions. The thesis argues that poverty indicates injustice in these structures. It proposes that those who make on-going contributions to these structures have an obligation to make reasonable efforts to prevent injustice in them. It explains that these efforts are required as a necessary precaution to avoid contributing to essentially aggregative harm. The interconnectedness of global economies means that actions and practices in one state can have a dramatic effect on the conditions faced by residents of another state. Currently a significant portion of the world’s population lives in social conditions where they are vulnerable to serious deprivation and domination. The thesis argues that the combined effect of these facts and the norm elucidated above is that agents around the world have an obligation to work together to prevent the continuance of this situation. It argues that each individual has an obligation to make efforts to form a collective to prevent structural injustice as a precaution against contributing to structural injustice. The original contribution of this thesis is to propose that there are precautionary duties in relation to global poverty. These duties require agents to work together with others through political action to alter the structures that give rise to global poverty. The aim of this thesis is to establish this obligation, define its meaning, and defend it against various challenges.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.595208
Depositing User: Dr Elizabeth Kahn
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2014 08:38
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5527

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