Apr 2015

Healy Hall 427:
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Friday Talk: Poverty, Inequality, & Global Environmental Justice

KIE visiting researcher Robert Robinson is interested in articulating a good answer to the question: why should I care about global poverty and inequality?

He explains: "Poverty and inequality are problematic at a local level, from the perspective of the social contract, insofar as they undermine other important political goals, such as democratic equality." But local political reasons don't necessarily give the global community reason to work to eliminate poverty and inequality as such. Robinson will articulate and dispense with arguments based on the idea that poverty and inequality are problematic because their existence undermines basic human rights, before arguing that we can draw a kind of analogy between theories of distributive justice and theories of global justice, because important and critical environmental effect everyone.

"Importantly," he notes, "poverty and inequality are highly correlated with environmental damage (e.g., developing countries must pollute more in order to improve their economies). So, I'll try to develop this analogy, defend the position that we should care about global poverty and inequality as an issue of political fairness instead of as an issue of human rights."

Selected talks from our Friday Cookies & Bioethics series are available in podcast form online and via iTunes.