I am taking a quick break from the Audi to reread some of Thomas Pogge’s key arguments in World Poverty and Human Rights. In this book he argues for global justice on the basis of the fact that the first world (or global north) has violated the duty to do no harm to the third world–mainly through trade agreements and organizations like the World Bank). Thus, those of us who benefit from such violations are responsible and obligated to do something about this harm: we can work to stop it, attempt to build just institutions, and/or attempt to do something to offset the harm caused.
I am revising a version of my own paper on immigration, and this argument is a key part of my claim that the US owes a duty of restitution to migrants (I focus on Mexican migrants and the relationship between the US and Mexico) who have been harmed in the process of coming to the US.
Overall, this fits into my bigger project on non-ideal theory. A key feature of non-ideal theory is its reliance on empirical research on actual conditions and historical relationships. This is not the main territory of philosophers, and so it can be hard to figure out how to do philosophy that takes this kind of research into account, but Pogge is a perfect example of how this kind of work can be done.