Do wealthier nations have moral obligations toward poor countries striving to develop?
Given what we have learned about ecological limits, the apparent tensions between economic development and environmental sustainability, collective action problems and the management of the earth’s finite resources, and global inequities in wealth and resource distribution, what obligations (if any) do wealthier countries have toward poorer developing nations?
For instance, do wealthy countries have a moral obligation to redistribute some of their resources to poorer nations? Do they have the duty to assist poorer countries to achieve higher standards of living, but to assist them in developing more responsibly—by transferring, e.g., relevant technologies to them and helping to build the infrastructure necessary to reduce their strain on the global environment? Or, perhaps less stringently, do wealthy nations have the obligation to reduce the harmful effects that their consumption and global economic practices may have on the welfare of poorer nations?
Identify one moral obligation you believe wealthier nations have toward poorer countries (this obligation need not be any of the examples above), and justify why they have this duty. Then explain how this obligation could be practically implemented in international politics: what specifically would be required of wealthier countries to satisfy this responsibility, and how might we realistically convince these sovereign countries to accept the initiative you propose? (If, alternatively, you do not believe that wealthier countries have any such moral obligation, you must explain why. Why is it that status quo environmental politics pose no normative problems for policy-makers?)