Assessing the global order: justice, legitimacy, or political justice?

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Which standards should we employ to evaluate the global order? Should they be standards of justice or standards of legitimacy? In this article, I argue that liberal political theorists need not face this dilemma, because liberal justice and legitimacy are not distinct values. Rather, they indicate what the same value, i.e. equal respect for persons, demands of institutions under different sets of circumstances. I suggest that under real-world circumstances ? characterized by conflicts and disagreements ? equal respect demands basic-rights protection and democratic participation, which I here call ?political justice?. I conclude the article by considering three possible configurations of the global order ? the ?democratic world-state?, ?independent democratic states?, and ?mixed? models ? and argue that a commitment to political justice speaks in favour of the latter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-612
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • justice
  • legitimacy
  • democracy
  • distributive equality
  • global institutions
  • equal respect


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