Document Type



"The Felix S. Cohen Prize Paper."


A recent argument for restricting the scope of distributive justice to arrangements within national boundaries suggests that coercive enforcement of entitlements through the private law is what gives rise to duties of distributive justice. This argument has been advanced in the most detail by Michael Blake and has also been endorsed by Mathias Risse. I will argue that this argument is mistaken. Duties of distributive justice are grounded in something else: perhaps in the imposition of a basic structure that fixes the terms of cooperation or perhaps in norms of reciprocity arising from cooperation. In either case, I believe that the grounds of distributive justice strongly suggest that considerations of distributive justice apply at both the national and international level. I conclude by suggesting a different way to explain why certain redistributive schemes are required on the national but not international level without denying that increased transnational cooperation makes global distributive justice an increasingly salient issue.

Date of Authorship for this Version

July 2007