Globalization and Inequality

A Plea for Cosmopolitan Justice
  • Fred Dallmayr
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)

Abstract

With 2001 having been officially designated (by the United Nations) as the year of “Dialogue among Civilizations,” it appears urgent to reflect on the meaning and requisites of dialogue, especially a dialogue carried on in a global context. Dialogue here does not just mean a random exchange of information or commodities—which may leave participants neutral or disengaged. If civilization is a frame of significance allowing members to articulate their self-understanding, then civilizational dialogue must be properly “civilized” by considering participants in their intrinsic worth. Consideration of worth, however, involves a measure of equality—not perhaps a quantitative or numerical equality but a kind of qualitative equality that might be described as one of respect or of care (which is not incompatible with respect for differences). As might be expected, this invocation of equality is likely to be challenged from numerous quarters. Self-styled political “realists” are prone to denounce the invocation—and the entire idea of a dialogue among equal partners (or civilizations)—as an empty chimera or pipedream disconfirmed by the stark “reality” of power differentials both in domestic and in international politics. Curiously this denunciation is sometimes seconded by left-leaning (especially postmodern) intellectuals who talk at length about radical asymmetry or a stark incommensurability of language games and cultures.1

Keywords

Income Hunt Triad Pyramid Arena 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See, e.g., Jean-François Lyotard, The Differend: Phrases in Dispute, trans. Georges Van den Abbeele (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988). Perhaps it would be better to treat conceptions like asymmetry and radical alterity as expressions of reverence or reverential praise rather than as philosophical principles.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Regarding the “rule of law” compare, e.g., Franz Neumann, The Rule of Law (Dover, NH: Berg, 1986)Google Scholar
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  11. 12.
    Developments in different parts of the world have been diverse. Thus, in East Asia the number of people living on less than $1 a day fell from around 420 million to about 280 million between 1987 and 1998. However, in Latin America, South Asia, Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa the numbers of poor people (less than $1 a day) have been increasing, in Central Asia more than twentyfold. See World Bank, World Development Report 2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); cited from World Faiths Development Dialogue, Occasional Paper No. 4 (Oxford, 2000), p. 3.Google Scholar
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  33. Darrel Moellendorf, Cosmopolitan Justice (Boulder, CO: Westview Press 2001); andGoogle Scholar
  34. Charles Jones, Global Justice: Defending Cosmopolitanism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).Google Scholar

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© Fred R. Dallmayr 2002

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  • Fred Dallmayr

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