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Justice in assistance: A critique of the Singer Solution

Blunt, G. D. ORCID: 0000-0002-9569-090X (2015). Justice in assistance: A critique of the Singer Solution. Journal of Global Ethics, 11(3), pp. 321-335. doi: 10.1080/17449626.2015.1055780


This article begins with an examination of Peter Singer's solution to global poverty as a way to develop a theory of justice in assistance. It argues that Singer's work, while compelling, does not seriously engage with the institutions necessary to relieve global poverty. In order to realise our obligations it is necessary to employ secondary agents, such as non-governmental organisations, that produce complex social relationships with the global poor. We should be concerned that the affluent and their secondary agents are complicit with unjust institutions or can be the source of injustice. What is needed is a theory of justice in assistance. This is a distinct area of justice theory because these agents are not primary agents, like states, but they often provide the basic social goods that we associate with primary agents. The article ends by putting forward a provisional conception of justice in assistance based on the republican idea of non-domination.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in 'Journal of Global Ethics' on 02 Sep 2015, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Peter Singer, justice, poverty, humanitarianism, non-ideal theory
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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