Fraternity and a global difference principle: A feminist critique of Rawls and Pogge

Sibyl A Schwarzenbach
Content Type
Journal Article
International Politics
Issue Number
Publication Date
January 2011
Palgrave Macmillan
Despite recent cracks in the dominant Hobbesian world picture of international relations (IR) - as the resurgence of neo-Kantianism in the area of 'global justice' bears witness - a discussion of friendship still remains absent. This article focusses on the important debate concerning the possibility of a global 'difference principle': that principle which John Rawls in A Theory of Justice considers an 'expression of fraternity' between citizens. Although in his later work Rawls explicitly denies that his difference principle applies worldwide and between 'people', others (most famously Charles Beitz and Thomas Pogge) defend a global version of it nonetheless. Yet, there is no talk of fraternity by these latter thinkers. I argue that both these positions are mistaken. Not only is an analysis of friendship necessary for any adequate account of justice - whether domestic or global - but the form this political friendship takes emerges as critical to the substantive debate.
International Relations, Politics