ETHICS AND GLOBAL GOVERNANCE
2013/2014, Semester 1
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Lee Kuan Yew School Of Public Policy)
Modular Credits: 4
Good governance and managing conflicting ethical demands are key skills for policy makers. This course seeks to introduce students to the ethical aspects of some major problems in global governance. Topics include foundations of ethical theory, human rights, intervention, climate change, immigration and trade. Background readings come mostly from moral philosophical, political theory and political science. Each session pays special attention to a particular policy area in the international domain and thereby combines philosophical inquiry with applied questions. The course does not have any formal prerequisites.
PP5231 Ethics and Global Governance
June 3, 2013
This course seeks to introduce students to the ethical aspects of some major problems in global governance. Topics include foundations of ethical theory, human rights, intervention, climate change, immigration and trade. Background readings come mostly from moral philosophical, political theory and political science. Each session pays special attention to a particular policy area in the international domain and thereby combines philosophical inquiry with applied questions. The course does not have any formal prerequisites.
Three short papers during the semester and a take home. Class attendance is required and participation is graded. Short papers count for 40% of the grade; the final counts for 40%; participation counts for 20%. Participants are expected to have thought about the guiding questions for the day. They are expected to submit three of the written assignments, according to the following rules: (a) you must submit the first assignment within the first three weeks; (b) there must be at least two weeks between any two assignments – so if you choose to submit the first assignment for week 1, then the earliest assignment you can submit next is the one for week 3: (c) the assignment is due within a week after the class for which it is posted (and is due before the next class). Assignment will require normative argumentation. Guidance for how to write such papers will be provided.
Session 1: Ethical Theory - Consequentialism (Case Study: Global Responsibilities -- Famine)
William Shaw, “The Consequentialist Perspective,” in James Dreier, ed.,
Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory
(2006), pp 5-20
Peter Singer, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,”
Philosophy & Public Affairs
1:3 (1972), pp 229-243
Dan Brock, “Utilitarianism,” in Tom Regan and Donald Van De Veer, eds.,
Justice for All: New Introductory Essays in Ethics and Public Policy
(1982), pp. 217-240
John Stuart Mill,
, Chapters I-III
1. Singer’s fundamental principle is the following: “If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing something of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it.” Explain how this principle is intelligible as a form of utilitarianism.
2. Is Singer’s criticism of our way of life correct? Is it true that all of us are, when you get down to it, moral monsters for not donating more income to Oxfam?
3. Is there room within Singer’s approach for a notion of responsibility? If the drowning child had entered the puddle as a result of his own foolish choices, would that make a difference to our duties? If a bully had pushed the child, would that make a difference?
“If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it” (Singer, p. 231). Singer concludes that we are obligated to give away large sums of money for famine relief, up to the point where the marginal cost to us of doing so equals the marginal benefit to starving recipients. Certainly, according to Singer, we are morally obligated to spend our money on famine relief, rather than on new clothing for ourselves. Are we morally obligated to give away a large share of our discretionary income to relieve famine? Why or why not?
Session 2: Ethical Theory: Non-Consequentialism (Case Study: Global Responsibilities -- Famine)
Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals
, 406 ("If we have so far...") – 436 (“and of every rational nature.”)
Thomas Hill, “Kantian Normative Ethics,” in David Copp, ed.,
The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory
(2006), pp 480-514
Onora O’Neill, “Kantian Approaches to Some Famine Problems,” in T. Regan, ed.,
Matters of Life and Death
(1980), pp. 285-294
Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, Bundesverfassungsgericht Press Release No. 11/2006 (Feb. 15, 2006), “Authorization to Shoot down Aircraft in the Aviation Security Act Void,” pp. 1-5.
1. Think of two examples in which an application of Kant’s Categorical Imperative would lead to different recommendation from utilitarian reasoning. How do the views respectively apply to famine relief?
2. Non-consequentialists often claim that their approach makes sense of the fact that we all have separate lives to lead, whereas consequentialism does not. Do you think this is a decisive refutation of consequentialism?
3. What is the formula-of-humanity version of the Categorical Imperative? Think of three scenarios where somebody’s behavior violates this formula
Consider O’Neill’s Kantian discussion of famines. Formulate two or three objections that Peter Singer could raise against this discussion and offer responses O’Neill could give. Who do you think has the better of the debate?
Session 3: Human Rights – Universalism vs. Relativism (Case Study – Rory Stewart Speech in British Parliament)
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Debate in British Parliament, especially contribution by Rory Stewart, MP, Penrith and the Border
Global Political Philosophy
, Chapters 1 and 2
1. Do you think the United Kingdom should continue to subject itself to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights? Why or why not?
2. When the Universal Declaration was passed, in 1948, there about one third as many countries as there are today. Do you think the Declaration is binding on people in countries that did not even exist then?
3. Do you think there can be universal values of the kind that the Universal Declaration proclaims?
In his article “Human Rights as a Neutral Concern,” the American philosopher T. M. Scanlon raises the following question:
“But even if the victims did take the view that they have no rights against what is is done to them (…) couldn’t they be wrong in thinking this? [W]hich is the more objectionable form of cultural superiority, to refuse to aid a victim on the ground that “they live like that – they don’t recognize rights as we know them,” or to attempt to protect the defenseless even when they themselves feel that suffering is their lot and they have no basis to complain of it?”
Using the readings on relativism, provide an answer to these questions. Offer some arguments in support of your answer. Introduce some objections and respond to them, and come to a conclusion.
Session 4: Human Rights – Individual Accountability and American Exceptionalism (Case Study – the Creation of the International Criminal Court)
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
The Justice Cascade
, Chapters 4 and 7
Harold Hongju Koh, “America’s Jekyll-and-Hyde Exceptionalism”, in Ignatieff,
American Exceptionalism and Human Rights
1. What is American Exceptionalism?
2. Critics of the ICC says that we can expect more conflict if oppressive leaders do not have the opportunity of retiring to a country that is offering them asylum but instead have to worry about standing trial. What do you think about this criticism?
3. What, according to Sikkink, is the Justice Cascade?
The Unites States government declined even to seek ratification of the Rome Statute because they were concerned that politically motivated trials would be brought against Americans. (Often, Henry Kissinger is mentioned as a very plausible target of such trials.) Given the provisions of the Rome Statute (i.e., those articles that you were asked to read), how warranted do you think such concerns were? What do you think are the best arguments that would justify the decision of the United States not to ratify the Rome Statute? What are the best arguments for the opposing view? Do you think the US should ratify the Statute?
Session 5: Human Rights – Obligations of Businesses? (Case Study – John Ruggie as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Business and Human Rights)
Just Business: Multinational Corporations and Human Rights
1. Do you think businesses should have human rights obligations? Why or why not?
2. How does Ruggie think about the human rights obligations of businesses?
3. What kind of a policy priority should Ruggie’s proposals have in your home country?
Choose a thesis from Ruggie’s book and present arguments for and against. What is your view on that thesis?
Session 6: Intervention – The Long Shadow of the Past (Case Study: The Earthquake in Haiti)
Thomas Pogge, “Introduction,” “The Causal Role of Global Institutions in the Persistence of Severe Poverty,” and “Eradicating Systemic Poverty: Brief for a Global Resources Dividend,” in
World Poverty and Human Rights
ed. (2008): pp 13‐32, 118‐123, 202‐221
Lea Ypi, Robert Goodin, and Christian Barry, “Associative Duties, Global Justice, and the Colonies.”
Philosophy and Public Affairs
37 (2009): 103-135
Sher, George. “Ancient Wrongs and Modern Rights.”
Philosophy and Public Affairs
10 (1980): 3-17
1. What does Thomas Pogge mean by the resource privilege, borrowing privilege, and arm-buying privilege? Explain what role these terms play in his theory.
2. How do Ypi, Goodin, and Barry argue for the conclusion that former colonial powers owe enormous transfers to the people in the now former colonies?
3. How can we use Sher’s article to formulate an objection to Ypi et al?
Do some quick background research about the history of Haiti. About a decade ago, then Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide asked France for a payment of $21,685,135,571.48 in restitution. This demand was based on a sum France had extorted from Haiti in the 19
century in return for an assurance not to try to re-colonize the island, and it includes the interest that has accrued on the principal of that payment in the course of the time that has passed since then. Do you think the French should have paid?
Session 7: Intervention – Is there a “Fit” between Governments and Peoples? (Case Study: Libya and the Responsibility to Protect)
Fernando Teson, “The Liberal Case for Humanitarian Intervention,” chapter 3 in J. L. Holzgrefe and Robert Keohane,
Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemmas
David Luban, “Just War and Human Rights,”
Philosophy and Public Affairs
Just and Unjust Wars
(1977), chapter 6 (“Interventions”)
Global Political Philosophy
, Chapter 4
1. What, according to Teson, is the liberal case in favor of intervention? Do you think Teson’s argument licenses too many interventions?
2. What, according to Luban, is the connection between just war and human rights?
3. Do you believe that there is a “fit” between a people and a government, and if there is such a fit, intervention is inappropriate? Could it happen that a good fit for a people is a highly authoritarian government, or a government that is a major human rights abuser? Would it still be the case then that there should be no intervention?
The time is February, 2016, and the newly-elected President of the United States faces the first foreign policy crisis of her administration. In the distant State of Dystopia, the Flaxon majority has launched a brutal attack on its ancient ethnic rival, the Zemer. The Flaxon-dominated Dystopian army has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of defenseless Zemerian civilians and, in “ethnic cleansing” operations, has driven a million more into an overcrowded border province. Zemerian resistance fighters have fiercely defended this remaining enclave, and, with the help of winter storms, have fought the Flaxons to a standstill. Under strong diplomatic pressure, the Flaxons have agreed to a cease-fire, but it is widely feared that they will mount a final offensive against the Zemer after the spring thaw. Without substantial military intervention to enforce the cease-fire, a million surviving Zemerians are in mortal danger. To protect them, the President is seriously considering sending a peacekeeping force of 80,000 to Dystopia.
If the U.S. intervenes, there will be American casualties from sniper fire, terrorist attack, and skirmishes, but there is little danger of a widespread and protracted ground war. The Flaxon leadership has shown itself to be ruthless but prudent, and an outright assault against American forces would be wildly imprudent: the Flaxons are comparatively ill-equipped and are extremely vulnerable to U.S. air attack. Dozens of American troops are likely to be killed in this mission, but not thousands. The president correctly believes that military intervention will not by itself resolve the problem of political instability in Dystopia, and understands that a peacekeeping mission, once initiated, is likely to last for several years. The U.S. has no vital national security interest in the conflict. Trade between the two nations is an insignificant factor in the U.S. economy. Dystopia does not have crucial natural resources, and stability in Dystopia is of only minor strategic importance to the U.S.
High ranking generals have privately voiced to the President their reluctance to commit troops to peacekeeping missions that do not directly serve national security and that do not have a clear exit strategy, but they all agree that the goal of protecting the Zemer enclave and enforcing the cease-fire can be accomplished successfully and indefinitely. They assure the president that he can count on them, whatever she decides.
Now choose one of two roles:
You are a senior advisor to the President. She has asked you to consider the moral arguments for and against armed intervention in the Dystopian conflict. (“I’ll worry about my reelection chances,” she says. “You tell me what the right thing to do is.”) Is the U.S. morally permitted to intervene? Is the U.S. morally required to intervene? What should the President do, and why?
You are a senior editor to a major newspaper in a country of your choice (which you need to specify). Is the U.S. morally permitted to intervene? Is the U.S. morally required to intervene? What should the President do, and why?
Session 8: Climate Change – The Nature of the Problem (Case Study: Disappearing Island Nations)
Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis,”
10 March 1967: pp 1203-1207
Stephen Gardiner, “A Perfect Moral Storm,” Chapter 1 of
A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change
(2011), pp 19-49
On Global Justice
, Chapter 5
Mathias Risse, “The Right to Relocation: Disappearing Island Nations and Common Ownership of the Earth,”
Ethics and International Affairs
1. What are the three “storms” that Stephen Gardiner thinks form the perfect moral storm of climate change? What is the problem of moral corruption? Do you think that humanity will be able to deal with climate change successfully (why or why not)?
2. What, according to Lynn, is the connection between climate change and Christianity?
3. What do you think your home country should do about disappearing island nations?
Why does Peter Singer think everybody should have an equal right to pollute? Do you think Singer is right or wrong (and why)?
Session 9: Climate Change – The Distribution of Burdens (Case Study: United States and China as Major Polluters)
Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World
1. What does Broome think you should do in response to climate change?
2. What does Broome think your country should do in response to climate change?
3. What kind of a policy priority should climate change have in your home country?
Choose a thesis from Broome’s book and present arguments for and against that thesis. What is your view on that thesis?
Session 10: Immigration – Open or Closed Borders? (Case Study: Illegal Immigration to the United States)
David Miller, “Immigration: The Case for Limits,” in
Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics
, ed. Andrew Cohen and Christopher Wellman (2005): pp 193‐206
Chandran Kukathas, “The Case for Open Immigration,” in
Debates in Applied Ethics,
Michael Blake, “Discretionary Immigration.”
30 (2002), pp 273–291
Mathias Risse, “On the Morality of Immigration,”
Ethics and International Affairs
1. Where somebody is born is entirely a matter of luck. Nobody chooses her patents. In light of this fact, are those of us who were luckier than others in terms of the richness of the environment where they were born entitled to keeping the others out?
2. One major reason why states are relocating to allowing immigration is because immigrants tend to influence and often shape the culture in which they settle down. Do you think states are justified in keeping out immigrants to guarantee the purity of their culture? (Do not dismiss lightly the positive aspects of living in a relatively homogenous society.)
3. Should a country bar those who are HIV positive from immigrating?
Discuss the following view: “It is wrong to make differences among people on the basis of their sex or race. ‘Shared Citizenship’, however, is just as arbitrary a criterion as sex or race. So we should not make differences among people on the basis of their citizenship. This implies in particular that, except for people who would come in order to inflict harm, we have no right to exclude people from immigrating into our country.”
Session 11: Global Trade (Case Study: Catfish in Vietnam and the United States)
“The Great Catfish War,”
New York Times
(July 22, 2003), pp. A18
Malgorzata Kurjanska and Mathias Risse, “Fairness in Trade II: Subsidies and the Fair-Trade Movement.”
Politics, Philosophy, and Economics
7 (2008): pp 29-56
Oxfam, Executive Summary,
Rigged Rules and Double Standards: Trade, Globalization, and the Fight Against Poverty
(2002), pp 1-18
Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (1994), Preamble and Articles I-III,
Aaron James, “Economic Skepticism,” Chapter 2 of
Fairness in Practice: A Social Contract for a Global Economy
1. It is sometimes argued that the WTO’s mission is merely to contribute to the liberalization of trade. According to the WTO’s preamble, do you find this view vindicated?
2. Do you buy Fair Trade coffee at the cafeteria? Would you do so if it were, say, 30% more expensive than other coffee? Why or why not? (Consider here the discussion in Kurjanska and Risse.) How much responsibility does a consumer have to know about the circumstances under which the product she buys was produced?
3. Do you think that Kurjanska and Risse are right that farmers in the EU and Japan have a prima facie bigger claim to subsidies than farmers in the US?
Think about the duties that we have to others. Some duties we owe to all persons, simply in virtue of their status as moral equals. Others we acquire in virtue of cooperative ventures we have entered into, promises we have made, benefits we have received, harms we have inflicted, or other forms of interaction and relation. Still more stringent duties are owed to our fellow citizens in order to justify the coercion that we subject each other to under law—a singularly encompassing system of social cooperation. Now think about international trade, the effect on people in other countries of various policies to open or restrict trade, and whether people in other countries are owed anything more than what is owed to persons simply as persons. Is the US government justified in pursuing policies that favor Louisiana catfish farmers over Vietnamese catfish farmers? Why or why not? (Assume—perhaps contrary to fact—that these protectionist measures do not violate any law or treaty.)
Session 12: Global Trade (Case Study: Moral Obligations of the World Trade Organization)
Christian Barry and Sanjay Reddy,
International Trade and Labor Standards
1. What does it mean for trade and labor standards to be “linked”? What is that debate about? What moral and non-moral considerations can you detect for and against linking trade and labor standards?
2. Given what you know about the international economic system, do you think that Barry and Reddy’s proposed “linkage system” will work?
3. In the international context, do we own money to developing societies – or other forms of aid? What if political transformation were more effective at combating poverty? Imagine, for example, that democratization were more effective than transfer payments at ending poverty.
Write a memo to the Director-General of the World Trade Organization making a moral argument for or against linking trade and labor standards. You should help yourself freely to empirical results if available, but please provide references, and make your case primarily in terms of a moral argument.
Workload Components : A-B-C-D-E
A: no. of lecture hours per week
B: no. of tutorial hours per week
C: no. of lab hours per week
D: no. of hours for projects, assignments, fieldwork etc per week
E: no. of hours for preparatory work by a student per week