What Are Our Duties to Eliminate Resource Inequalities?
Political theorists like Beitz (1979), Singer (1972), Shue (1996), and Caney (2005) (see chapter 4 in Caney 2005) defend various arguments in support of global resource redistribution—emphasizing the relevance of economic interactions and interdependence between wealthy and poor nations, or the ability to assist those in need, or the fundamental right of all to basic subsistence, or some combination of these. Each author claims that achieving more equitable distributions is not a matter of charity or benevolence, but of moral obligation. If true, this would mean that citizens and governments of wealthy countries do wrong by the world’s poor when they fail to forfeit a fair portion of their resource shares. Young (1991), who is sympathetic to distributive justice insists that there is more to justice than simply achieving an equitable distribution of material goods, and she is highly critical of conventional accounts of distributive justice.
Thinking about the diversity of arguments for resource redistribution and Young’s critique of these accounts, do you believe we have a duty to eliminate global resource inequalities?
In answering this question, (a) you must incorporate the writings of two of the authors noted above (in addition to your external sources), (b) you must explain how unequal access to resources can lead to other morally problematic forms of inequality, (c) you must defend what obligations we have—if any—to eliminate these inequalities, and (d) you must discuss one real-world example that illustrates your conclusion. If your claim is that we have no such obligations, then you still need to satisfy (a), (b), and (d) in developing your argument against the conventional accounts above.
PLEASE NOTE: with these sorts of normative questions that we’ll be engaging throughout the semester, where there is no clear right or wrong answer, you must do more than merely state your opinion. This would fundamentally fail to satisfy the expectations of these thesis-driven and evidence-based writing assignments. Your task is to take a stand on the issue and to defend this position by writing an educated and informed response, incorporating specific ideas from the readings that support your thesis.