Thursday, 16 February 2012

Do the wealthy countries need to have duties of justice to aid the global poor?

Every week, there is a controversial discussion for global political topics in the class of GLOBAL JUSTICE, CITIZENSHIP, AND DEMOCRACY, UCL. Last week, we discuss two different approaches to Global Poor and its meanings. Networking City presented the seminar topic and argued the duties of justice for global poor.  

- Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day
- According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty

Basic Premise
- Duties of justice are correlative to rights and more stringent than duties of charity.
- Duties of justice are to change pattern of enforceable entitlements (structural/institutional)

Argument for having duties of justice to support poor countries
- The deprived condition of the developing countries is not because they are unlucky or incompetent, but because they are forced to be sacrificed for the wealthy of the developed countries.
- Unfair and irrational international structures are needed to replace based on the pattern of entitlements. 
Critiques against Justice based approach for Global Poor
- 1) Level of total population living on less than $1 per day are decreasing during 1950-1992
- 2) The domestic institutions of poor countries play an important part too.
Ex) dictatorship, corruption
- 3) Demands of justice are, fundamentally, a matter of "not harming" others, as opposed to ‘helping them’.

Counter against its critiques of Justice based approach for Global Poor
1-1) Statistics like total population living on less than $1 per day show that overall the world as a whole is showing signs of improvement. However, other data (such as income gap between wealthy countries and developing countries) clearly show that global inequalities have continued widen considerably. It can be argued that the gap between wealthy worlds and poor worlds is the most significant in the history. (Potter, 2008)

1-2) Absolute poverty is decreasing but relative poverty is growing. We need to identify poverty by the measure of ‘quality of life’ rather than ‘income’ (from GNP – to HDI*)

2-1) Bad Samaritans(the developed countries) are using corruption(domestic problem) as a convenient justification for the reduction in their aid commitments, despite the fact that cutting aid will hurt the poor more than it will a country’s dishonest leaders, especially in the poor countries (Chang, 2007)

2-2) Many countries that achieved a significant economic development like Japan, China and Korea suffered wide spread corruptions.

2-3) Sub-Saharan countries which show the highest poverty level had a good economic growth during 1960 and 1970 (annual 1.6% income growth) But, after free market policies which were forced by WorldBank and IMF, their vulnerable manufacturing industries were destroyed and then, they had to back to primary industries like cocoa and coffee. (ex. Senegal) (Chang, 2010)

3-1) The developed countries are still harming to the developing countries by unfair international orders. Modifying its structures and orders is a matter of "not harming" others, as opposed to ‘helping them’.

3-2) Poverty leads lots of other problems which link to human rights such as Gender problem, Child labour, Political pressure and Racial superiority. Therefore, supporting poor countries based on ‘duties of justice’ is a key of ‘not harming’ other people as well as helping other’s human rights.

* Human Development Index (HDI)
- From 2001, United Nations has used HDI to measure the overall achievements in country in three basic dimensions of human development. HDI is measured by life expectancy, educational attainment, plus adjusted income per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) US dollars.

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