Ethics & International Affairs Volume 3 (1989): Articles: Closing the Fairness-Practice Gap [Abstract]

Dec 2, 1989

"My argument in this essay is that the fairness principle can be justified on the basis of an ethical perspective that stresses the importance of consequences in judging human action, and that it has far-reaching implications not just for evaluating state policy but for the design of international institutions." Keohane's utilitarian perspective seeks to establish generalizable principles of morality for a framework of normative moral rules by which to construct a foreign policy for international cooperation. The author argues that all governments are morally obliged to support international institutions that advocate crosscultural and global public goods to advance the fairness principle. The international community is bound by Western understandings of distributive justice, universal human rights, and indisputable national sovereignty.

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