De Ethica
A Journal of
Theological and
Applied Ethics

The Scope of the Global Institutional Order: Can Pogge Survive Cohen’s Critique of Rawls?
Kevin W. Gray: American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
In this paper, I develop a critique of Thomas Pogge”s attempt in Realizing Rawls to expand the scope of the Original Position. I argue that Pogge is guilty of assuming the same arbitrary boundary between public and private behaviours made by Rawls. To actualize this critique, I take G. A. Cohen’s critique of John Rawls, found in its fullest form in Rescuing Justice and Equality, alongside Thomas Pogge”s attempt, in Realizing Rawls, to expand the scope of the Original Position. Cohen argues that the boundary Rawls wishes to draw between the public and private cannot be coherently maintained in the application of the Difference Principle. I argue that if this claim is true, then Pogge”s attempt to expand the scope of Rawls” Theory of Justice to the international arena is actually considerably more radical than Pogge intended. Not only do we need to worry about the justice of institutions in international law, but we now need to worry about the justice of individual actions inside a system of global justice. I conclude by considering some objections against Cohen”s, and thus, my position.
Thomas Pogge; John Rawls; G. A. Cohen; Different Principle; Global Institutional Order; Justice
No. of pages:
Publication type:

Volume 2, Issue: 2, Article 4, 2015

Kevin W. Gray
The Scope of the Global Institutional Order: Can Pogge Survive Cohen’s Critique of Rawls?:

Bame-Aldred, Charles W., John B. Cullen, Kelly D. Martin, and K. Praveen Parboteeah. ‘National Culture and Firm-level Tax Evasion,’ Journal of Business Research, 66:3 (2013), pp. 390–396. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.08.020

Beitz, Charles. ‘Rawls’s Law of Peoples,’ Ethics, 110:4 (2000), pp. 669-696. doi: 10.1086/233369

Cohen, G. A. ‘Where the Action Is: On the Site of Distributive Justice’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 26:1 (1997), pp. 3-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.1997.tb00048.x

Cohen, G. A. Rescuing Justice and Equality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2008. doi: 10.4159/9780674029651

Cohen, G. A. Why Not Socialism? Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.

Cohen, Joshua. ‘Taking People as They Are?’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 30:4 (2001), pp. 363-386. doi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.2001.00363.x

Cummings, Ronald C., Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, Michael McKee, and Benno Torgler.‘Effects of Culture on Tax Compliance: A Cross Check of Experimental and Survey Evidence,’ Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA), Working Paper No. 2004-13 (Berkeley, 2004), online at (accessed 2015-08-16).

Diamond, Peter and Emmanuel Saez. ‘The Case for a Progressive Tax: From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25:4 (2011), pp. 165–190. doi: 10.1257/jep.25.4.165

Heath, Joseph. ‘Rawls on Global Distributive Justice: A Defence’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume, 31 (2005), pp. 193-226.

Jones, Francis, Daniel Annan, and Saef Shah. ‘The Distribution of Household Income 1977 to 2006/07’, Economic & Labour Market Review, 2:12 (2008), pp. 18-31. doi: 10.1057/elmr.2008.184

Kappor, Ilan. ‘Deliberative Democracy and the WTO’, Review of International Political Economy, 11: 3 (2004), pp. 522-541. doi: 10.1080/0969229042000252882

Krugman, Paul. ‘Taxing Job Creators,’ (2011), online at (accessed 2013-03-03).

Lippert-Rasmussen, Kasper. ‘Inequality, Incentives and the Interpersonal test,’ in Justice, Equality, and Constructivism. Essays on G. A. Cohen’s Rescuing Justice and Equality, edited by Brian Feltham. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2003, pp. 55-73.

Murphy, Liam. ‘Institutions and the Demands of Justice’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 27:4 (1999), pp. 251-291. doi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.1998.tb00071.x

Okin, Susan Moller. Justice, Gender and the Family. New York: Basic Books, 1989.

Pogge, Thomas. Realizing Rawls. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989.

Pogge, Thomas. ‘An Egalitarian Law of Peoples’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 23:3 (1994), pp. 195-224. doi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.1994.tb00011.x

Pogge, Thomas. ‘On the Site of Distributive Justice: Reflections on Cohen and Murphy’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 29:2 (2000), pp. 137-169. doi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.2000.00137.x

Pogge, Thomas. World Poverty and Human Rights. Cambridge: Polity, 2002.

Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.

Rawls, John. The Law of Peoples. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Risse, Mattias. ‘How Does the Global Order Harm the Poor?’, Philosophy & Public Affairs. 33:4 (2005), pp. 349-376. doi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.2005.00036.x

Reitberger, Magnus. ‘Poverty, Negative Duties and the Global Institutional Order’, Politics, Philosophy & Economics, 7:4 (2008), pp. 379-402. doi: 10.1177/1470594X08095750

Steinhoff, Uwe. ‘Why “We” Are Not Harming the Global Poor: A Critique of Pogge’s Leap from State to Individual Responsibility’, Public Reason, 4:1-2 (2012), pp. 119-138.

Volume 2, Issue: 2, Article 4, 2015

Kevin W. Gray
The Scope of the Global Institutional Order: Can Pogge Survive Cohen’s Critique of Rawls?:
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
No citations available at the moment