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More open borders and deep structural transformation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-531
Number of pages22
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number4
Early online date8 Jan 2019
Accepted/In press3 Jan 2019
E-pub ahead of print8 Jan 2019
Published1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This work was supported by the John Templeton Foundation [60688]. I would like to thank the reviewers, Guy Aitchison-Cornish, Adrian Blau, Robin Douglass, Darrel Moellendorf, Carmen Pavel, Mark Pennington, Paul Sagar and participants at KCL?s Department of Political Economy?s Political Theory Research Seminar for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Thanks are also due to the Centre for the Study of Governance and Society?s Ideal of Self Governance Project at King?s College London, supported by the John Templeton Foundation. Publisher Copyright: © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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Building upon recent work on epistemic varieties of liberalism, avant-garde political agency and the theory and practice of activism, I claim that a liberal defence of more open borders does not presuppose either indifference to the problem of the deep structural sources of poverty in poorer countries, or the absence of an account of those structures’ transformation. Rather, it is claimed that in addition to the remittance of money and other economic goods to alleviate the symptoms of poverty, more open borders facilitate the remittance of norms and values in terms of which individuals and activist communities in poorer countries may transform the deep structures and institutions that are poverty’s sources. This liberal account of more open borders and deep structural transformation also makes possible the non-coercive discharge of obligations of global justice on the part of wealthier states to the world’s poor, when poorer nations are either unable or unwilling to discharge them themselves.

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