Rescuing Cosmopolitanism: A Marxian Account

Δημοσιευμένα: Μαρ 25, 2020
Giannis Moschos
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Βιογραφικό Συγγραφέα
Giannis Moschos, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
Τμήμα Φιλοσοφίας, ΕΚΠΑ, Μεταπτυχιακή φοιτήτρια
A more extensive account of this case was presented in the context of my dissertation submitted as part of completion for the MSc in Political Theory of the London School of Economics and Political Science (2016-2017). I would like to thank Professor Lea Ypi, that supervised this attempt, for her invaluable support and advice.
Thomas Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2002, p. 2.
I mainly refer to cosmopolitans (such as) Simon Caney and KokChor Tan. We have to be charitable to Thomas Pogge’s attempt to conceptualise poverty using an institutional approach. Pogge does attempt to causally conceptualise poverty but lacks an assessment of the economic relations of production (see ibid). It is beyond the scope of this essay to argue against Pogge, however, as I am concerned with highlighting the importance of the casual approach overall.
Karl Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Programme”, Karl Marx: Selected Writings, David McLellan, (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010, p. 616.
G.A. Cohen, History, Labour and Freedom: Themes from Marx, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1988, p. 300.
Kok-Chor Tan, Justice without Borders: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism and Patriotism, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2004, p. 19.
Simon Caney, “Global Poverty and Human Rights: The Case for Positive Duties”, Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right: Who Owes What to the Very Poor, Thomas Pogge (ed.), Oxford University Press, 2007, Oxford, pp. 275-302.
Simon Caney, “Justice Beyond Borders: A Global Political Theory”, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005, p.105.
Ibid., p.110.
It is Pogge that coins this term and refers to cosmopolitans who assert that duties towards other are natural ones, that is independent of any institutional ordering.
John E. Roemer, Egalitarian Perspectives: Essays in Philosophical Economics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994, p. 40.
Ibid., p. 40- 41. Roemer’s initial definition of the PR theory of exploitation includes a different clause than what I number here as (3) and the one found on page 40. The initial clause is: If S were to withdraw from society with its own endowments (not its per capita share), then S’ would be worse off than at present. Yet, following some objections Roemer reformulates that clause to be the one I have cited here as (3). A discussion of this can be found in ibid., pp. 104 – 111.
Karl Marx, Grundrisse:Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Rough Draft), Martin Nicolaus (trans.), Penguin, London,1993, pp. 81-88.
John E. Roemer, A General Theory of Exploitation and Class, MA, Harvard University Press, Cambridge,1982, pp. 194-208.
Ibid., pp. 202-210.
There are numerous ways in which the capitalist may be dominating the exploiter – racially, sexually etc. – but I’m only referring to economic dominance here.
Some (Marxists) may protest that this is an over simplistic definition of class and it indeed is. Yet, in the PR model classes are defined within the model and not as an external condition.
Eric Olin Wright, Interrogating Inequality: Essays on Class Analysis, Socialism and Marxism, Verso, London, 1994, pp. 33-50.
Karl Marx, “The Communist Manifesto”, Karl Marx: Selected Writings, David McLellan, (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010, p.248.
Stephanie Black, (Dir.), (Prod.), Life and Debt, 2001.
John E. Roemer, Egalitarian Perspectives: Essays in Philosophical Economics, ibid., p. 287-302.
Lea Ypi, “On the Confusion Between Ideal and Non-ideal in Recent Debates on Global Justice”, Political Studies vol. 58 (2010): pp. 536-555.
One could object here that a causally fundamental instance is not necessarily also a normatively fundamental. This objection has been raised and adequately tackled by G.A Cohen. (see: G.A. Cohen, Self-Ownership, Freedom and Equality, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995, p. 198.)
John E. Roemer, Egalitarian Perspectives: Essays in Philosophical Economics, ibid., p.46.
Within the scope of this essay I have not been explicitly concerned what those principles are and how they can benefit cosmopolitans. Nonetheless, it can be inferred that the principles that arise are of
egalitarian nature.
The merits of the concept of exploitation for cosmopolitanism do not stop where economic exploitation does. Considering exploitation related to gender and race as a contributing factor to the theory of cosmopolitanism could raises very important normative considerations that cosmopolitans
should take into account.