Thomas Pogge and his Critics


Edited by Alison Jaggar, college professor of distinction, philosophy

Polity Books

The massive disparity between the relative wealth of most citizens in affluent countries and the profound poverty of billions of people struggling elsewhere for survival is morally jolting. But why exactly is this disparity so outrageous and how should the citizens of affluent countries respond? Political philosopher, Thomas Pogge, has emerged as one of the world’s most ardent critics of global injustice which, he argues, is caused directly by the operation of a global institutional order that not only systematically disadvantages poor countries but is imposed on them by precisely those wealthy, powerful countries that benefit the most from the order’s injustice. In allowing their governments to perpetrate this injustice, Pogge contends that citizens of the wealthy countries collude in a monumental crime against humanity.

In this book Pogge’s challenging and controversial ideas are debated by leading political philosophers from a range of philosophical viewpoints. With a clear and informative introduction by Alison Jaggar, and original contributions from Neera Chandhoke, Jiwei Ci, Joshua Cohen, Erin Kelly, Lionel McPherson, Charles W. Mills, Kok-Chor Tan, and Leif Wenar, this volume deepens and expands the debate over global justice and moral responsibility in the world today.

“Thomas Pogge is part angry prophet, denouncing severe injustice, and part analytic philosopher, constructing original arguments. Jaggar’s imaginatively conceived collection of critics combines some of the best leading scholars with diverse fresh voices, yielding a variegated, vigorous and valuable debate about responsibility for world poverty that carries the analysis significantly forward.”

—Henry Shue, University of Oxford

“Thomas Pogge argues that extreme poverty is unjustly maintained by institutional means, and could be ended at marginal cost. His claims about the causes, remedies and injustice of the present global order are powerfully criticized in this collection, and his critics are powerfully taken to task: necessary reading for thinking about global justice.”

—Onora O’Neill, University of Cambridge

“No philosopher has done more than Thomas Pogge to explain what makes the persistence of global poverty so grave an injustice and no other explanation has provoked such a diverse and interesting array of responses. This very well-edited volume, containing commissioned essays by a distinguished group of critics and a powerful reply by Pogge, is an invaluable resource for anyone attempting to assess his work and to understand how philosophy can illuminate debates about global poverty.”

—Andrew Williams, ICREA and Pompeu Fabra University

“Is global poverty the result of a deeply unjust institutional order we have helped to impose? Are there modest and feasible institutional reforms that could eradicate extreme poverty? In Allison Jaggar’s fine volume Thomas Pogge’s affirmative answers to these questions receive sustained scrutiny from a distinguished group of philosophers. The result is essential reading for those working on justice across borders.”

—Paula Casal, University of Reading

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