To What Extent Can Beitz — страница 2

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natural resources, thus people will be forced to be objective. The ?veil of ignorance? screens out ?morally arbitrary factors? (Rawls 1971:102) (considerations with no moral bearing on the choice of principles of justice). Beitz thus extends what are to be considered as ?morally arbitrary factors?. Deriving from this ?veil of ignorance?, Rawls arrives at his ?equal liberty principle?. Individuals should be free to pursue their own ends thus each person being entitled to an equal right ?to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.? Therefore, it is to no surprise that Rawls advocates an equal distribution of resources within society. He urges individuals to adopt a principle capable of creating ?the greatest possible advantage to the least

advantaged? regardless of any social and economic inequalities already existing, with the condition that all opportunities be available and open to all. This is Rawls?s ?difference principle?. Beitz bases much of his work on Rawls?s ?equal liberty principle? and ?difference principle?. In one respect, Beitz further generalizes Rawls?s principles. His logic stems from the assumption that if every individual in the global original position is fully aware of the benefits and burdens that can be created within domestic society, why is it not possible for the principles of morality to be extended for international society? Surely they will agree that ?persons of diverse citizenship have distributive obligations to one another analogous to those citizens of the same state?(Beitz

1979b:58). Beitz claims that Rawls makes both theoretical and empirical errors when he applies his principles internationally. He does accept that national societies are self contained and self-sufficient, however, he opposes the assumption that the international version of the original position would lead to a set of purely formal rules. Under the veil of ignorance, Beitz proposes that state leaders would redistribute resources so each society would have ?a fair chance to develop just political institutions and an economy capable of satisfying its members? ?basic needs?(Beitz1979b 61). Beitz is trying to ?screen out? (Pin-Fat1997:195) states? particular interests, excluding precisely those characteristics or reality that make the world ?non-ideal?. One of the main assumptions

Beitz makes in his theory is that both the domestic and international realms are sufficiently similar enough so that the conjunction of political and international theory can generate international principles of justice. According to Beitz, Rawls? notion of a cooperative scheme is far too restrictive. By extending Rawls? theory to the international realm, Beitz is creating the possibility for arguing that international relations satisfy the criteria of a cooperative scheme. Generally, people have cooperative relationships in liberal pluralist societies, which they aim to maintain. They also place a high value on the institutions on which they are based. In our present society at least, people are willing to distribute some of the ?fruits of their labour?. Chris Brown comments

that Beitz?s position is empirical, since it is by no means an established theory that postulates economic success as closely related to initial resource endowments. Thus, if an equal division of the world?s resources were to take place, it could hypothetically involve giving mineral rights to Japan and taking them away from Namibia. Also, we may doubt whether individuals would act in the same way for others outside the social community of which we can identify as the state. Beitz claims that our perception about what is considered to be a ?right? or ?wrong? act is unreliable. He ignores our present existing social bonds labeling them as ?outmoded? and ?inadequate?. Thus Beitz insists upon basing his conception of justice on the ?reality? of economic interdependence. It is this

interdependence, which provides the foundations for obligations of justice. Beitz draws on examples such as transnational transactions such as aid, trade and foreign investment to demonstrate that there exists sufficient interdependence between states that they constitute a cooperative scheme. We must also take note, however, that burdens such as political inequality and widening income gaps between wealthy and poor nations are as equally significant as the benefits resulting from interdependence. The point for Beitz in this regard is that the very existence of these burdens and benefits satisfy one of his criteria of the applicability of principles of justice, so that ?social activity produces relative or absolute benefits or burdens that would not exist if the social activity