Politics as Usual: What Lies Behind the Pro-Poor Rhetoric [NOOK Book]


Worldwide, human lives are rapidly improving. Education, health-care, technology, and political participation are becoming ever more universal, empowering human beings everywhere to enjoy security, economic sufficiency, equal citizenship, and a life in dignity. To be sure, there are some specially difficult areas disfavoured by climate, geography, local diseases, unenlightened cultures or political tyranny. Here progress is slow, and there may be set-backs. But the affluent states and many international ...
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Politics as Usual: What Lies Behind the Pro-Poor Rhetoric

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Worldwide, human lives are rapidly improving. Education, health-care, technology, and political participation are becoming ever more universal, empowering human beings everywhere to enjoy security, economic sufficiency, equal citizenship, and a life in dignity. To be sure, there are some specially difficult areas disfavoured by climate, geography, local diseases, unenlightened cultures or political tyranny. Here progress is slow, and there may be set-backs. But the affluent states and many international organizations are working steadily to extend the blessings of modernity through trade and generous development assistance, and it won't be long until the last pockets of severe oppression and poverty are gone.

Heavily promoted by Western governments and media, this comforting view of the world is widely shared, at least among the affluent. Pogge's new book presents an alternative view: Poverty and oppression persist on a massive scale; political and economic inequalities are rising dramatically both intra-nationally and globally. The affluent states and the international organizations they control knowingly contribute greatly to these evils - selfishly promoting rules and policies harmful to the poor while hypocritically pretending to set and promote ambitious development goals. Pogge's case studies include the $1/day poverty measurement exercise, the cosmetic statistics behind the first Millennium Development Goal, the War on Terror, and the proposed relaxation of the constraints on humanitarian intervention. A powerful moral analysis that shows what Western states would do if they really cared about the values they profess.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I would recommend this book for its provocative and well-argued positions on a range of topics."
Population Studies

"In an age of economic austerity and financial crisis, the temptation is to literally adopt the old adage that 'charity begins at home' ... Pogge's book is an important corrective to such arguments."
Central European Journal of Economic and Security Studies

"Likely to challenge, disturb and shock any reader willing to enter the world described by Pogge. Nevertheless, it is essential reading ... Pogge brings a very personal and heartfelt morality to issues that are usually dealt with in high economic terms."
Kelvingrove Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745655420
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/24/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Thomas Pogge, Professor, Australian National University
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Table of Contents

General Introduction
1 What is global justice
1.0 Introduction
1.1 The extent of global poverty
1.2 The moral significance of global poverty
1.3 From international to global justice
1.4 Interactional and institutional moral analysis
1.5 Transnational institutional analysis
1.6 The global institutional order contributes to severe poverty
1.7 Global poverty is foreseeable and avoidable
1.8 Conclusion

2 Recognized and violated by international law: the human rights of the global poor
2.0 Introduction
2.1 Human rights and correlative duties
2.2 The purely domestic poverty thesis
2.3 The Panglossian view of the present global order
2.4 Is the present global order merely less beneficial than it might be?
2.5 The present global order massively violates human rights
2.6 The promise of global institutional reform

3 The first UN Millennium Development Goal: a cause for celebration?
3.0 Introduction
3.1 Reflection one on halving world poverty
3.2 Reflection two on tracking poverty by counting the poor
3.3 Reflection three on where the line is drawn
3.4 Reflection four on relating the IPL to the global product
3.5 Concluding thoughts

4 Developing morally plausible indices of poverty and gender equity: a research program
4.0 Introduction
4.1 The World Bank's tracking poverty by counting people below some IPL
4.2 The problematic reliance on CPIs and PPPs
4.3 Tracking development with the HDI and gender equity with the GDI
4.4 Toward new indices of development, poverty and gender equity

5 Growth and inequality: understanding recent trends and political choices
5.0 Introduction
5.1 Who benefits from recent growth?
5.2 Intra-national inequality
5.3 Growth and poverty in China
5.4 Global inequality
5.5 What next

6 Dworkin, the abortion battle, and global poverty
6.0 Introduction
6.1 Dworkin's problematic reconstruction of the pro-life perspective
6.2 Review of the alleged inconsistencies of the pro-life perspective
6.3 The search for common ground
6.4 Global poverty as a competing moral priority from the pro-life perspective
6.5 Comparing the responsibilities for abortion and global poverty
6.6 Objections to the comparative moral priority of hunger
6.7 Conclusions

7. Making war on terrorists: reflections on harming the innocent
7.0 Introduction
7.1 The uses of terrorism for politicians and the media
7.2 Public support for anti-terror policies
7.3 One failure in the moral justification for terrorism
7.4 Other problems for the moral justification of terrorism
7.5 Taking morality seriously
7.6 Acting under color of morality
7.7 The measures taken in our name
7.8 How do we justify our policies?

8 Moralizing humanitarian intervention: why jurying fails and how law can work
8.0 Introduction
8.1 The amazing appeal to the Rwandan genocide
8.2 Would an intervention to stop the Rwandan genocide really have been illegal?
8.3 Humanitarian heroes fettered by legal niceties?
8.4 The jurying model
8.5 How to think about improving the international legal order

9 Creating supranational institutions democratically: reflections on the European Union's "democratic deficit"
9.0 Introduction
9.1 The Maastricht verdict of the German Constitutional Court
9.2 Why the people allegedly cannot play a role in shaping political institutions
9.3 The constitutive features of the Union
9.4 Concluding remarks


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  • Posted July 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Thought-provoking study of ethics and politics

    Thomas Pogge, the Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University, has written a remarkable study. He exposes as myths the ideas that capitalist globalisation is gradually improving the lives of the world's poor through trade and aid, and that any remaining problems are local in origin, from backward cultures to bad rulers.

    Chapter 1 introduces the global justice debate. Chapter 2 presents "my central claim: the dominant Western countries are designing and upholding global institutional arrangements, geared to their domestic economic elites, that foreseeably and avoidably produce massive deprivations in most of the much poorer regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America." Chapter 3 looks at how the United Nations and the World Bank present the situation of the world's poor. Chapter 4 examines how the Bank fixes the international poverty line at an absurdly low level. Chapter 5 looks at the huge growth of global inequality between and within nations.

    Chapter 6 argues that global poverty is a higher moral priority than the abortion debate and that pro- and anti-abortion activists should work together for the better moral cause of ending poverty. Chapter 7 studies 9/11 and concludes that the US and British 'war on terror' 'copied the two great moral failings of the terrorists' - harming the innocent and caring little about their actions' morality. Chapter 8 criticises Kofi Annan's misuse of the Rwandan genocide to press for more 'humanitarian interventions'. Pogge's Chapter 9 claims to relate our foreign policy failings to the flaws of our domestic institutions, but in fact it only presents an arid scheme for reforming what he rightly calls the EU's 'undemocratic rule'.

    He notes, "Many more people - some 360 million - have died from hunger and remediable diseases in peacetime in the 20 years since the end of the Cold War than perished from wars, civil wars, and government repression over the entire twentieth century. . 1,020 million human beings are chronically undernourished, 884 million lack access to safe water, and 2,500 million lack access to basic sanitation; 2,000 million lack access to essential drugs, 924 million lack adequate shelter and 1,600 lack electricity; 774 million adults are illiterate; and 218 million children are child laborers. Roughly one third of all human deaths, 18 million annually, are due to poverty-related causes, easily preventable through better nutrition, safe drinking water, cheap rehydration packs, vaccines, antibiotics and other medicines."

    The rich states, and the international financial institutions they run, promote the avoidable evils of massive poverty and oppression, selfishly pushing rules and policies that they know harm the poor, while hypocritically claiming to promote development goals. The capitalist states rob the poor while claiming to aid them. Poor countries illicitly transfer an estimated $1 trillion a year to rich people in the rich countries.

    Pogge concludes, "By foreseeably producing these effects, the present global order is unjust insofar as there are feasible (i.e., practicable and reachable) institutional alternatives that would not produce such catastrophic human suffering."

    This poverty could be ended! $296 billion a year, just 0.66 per cent of global GDP, would lift above the poverty line of all those who live below this line.

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