Poverty, politics and global justice

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Fawad, Maliha
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University College Cork
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This thesis is an investigation into the ethics and politics of global poverty. The main focus will be on the multidimensional concept of poverty in relation to, global politics and justice in the context of contemporary political thought and philosophical research,. The research methodology used in this study is that of philosophic analysis, with the main focus on three key authors: Rawls’s political liberalism, Nussbaum’s capabilities approach and Pogge’s human rights thesis. This research thesis critically analyses Pogge’s famous stance that global poverty is caused by the harmful international institutional framework. Contra Pogge, this thesis suggests that state and local institutions must not be neglected: a proper understanding of the fundamental role of institutions at both the state and international levels, and the relation between them, can best serve the cause of global justice and poverty alleviation. One of the major concerns of this thesis is how poverty is impacted by politics. It is argued that institutional political action for poverty alleviation is greatly facilitated by democratic political process. Political parties and civil society at the state and local level can play a crucial role, especially if the politics of poverty is embedded in welfare oriented policies of a democratic state with a clear tilt towards social justice. The legitimacy of Pogge’s move to shift away from state responsibility to collective or individual responsibility is critically assessed along with the idea of the dispersal of state sovereignty, and more specifically Pogge’s exclusive emphasis on global institutions in isolation from the state’s role in poverty alleviation. By providing empirical evidence and logical arguments, this thesis argues that poverty is largely caused at the local level by state institutions; without remedying the situation at the local and state level no global intervention is likely to succeed. Poverty eradication policies can only succeed if reformed global institutions coordinate their efforts with political actors and institutions at the state level, enhancing pro-poor institutions and enabling environment for poverty eradication and social justice. Global institutional governance is not likely to achieve much success in poverty eradication unless the role of the state institutions is not fully incorporated.
Fawad, M. 2017. Poverty, politics and global justice. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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