Cosmopolitanism

Note – This framework is fairly long and may not be exactly the advocacy you’re looking for. That’s okay! It has a ton of great cards and analysis that you can use to justify and explain cosmopolitanism.

I value Global Justice. Global justice is a cosmopolitan view of justice that claims that each person has an inalienable equal human worth, regardless of race, religion or even nationality. Gillian Brock of the University of Aukland 2015 explains that

A problem is often considered to constitute a global justice problem when one (or more) of the following conditions obtain: Actions stemming from an agent, institution, practice, activity (and so on) that can be traced to one (or more) states negatively affects residents in another state. Institutions, practices, policies, activities (and so on) in one (or more) states could bring about a benefit or reduction in harm to those resident in another state. There are normative considerations that require agents in one state to take certain actions with respect to agents or entities in another. Such actions might be mediated through institutions, policies, or norms. 

Thus, because the resolution asks us to consider an action that affects all states, it is a question of global justice. 

All people share an intrinsic value that comes from our humanity. Because of this, we all have a right to the earth. Pauline Kleingeld of Washington University 98 explains

By contrast, in cosmopolitan law, ‘individuals and states, who stand in an external relationship of mutual influence, are regarded as citizens of a universal state of humankind (allgemeiner Menschenstaat) (ius cosmopoliticum)’ (PP 8: 349n.)-8 In the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant mentions nations and ‘citizens of the earth’ (Ereburger) (MM 6: 353) as bearers of cosmopolitan rights.’ Thus cosmopolitan law addresses states and individuals, addressing individuals [are] as ‘citizens of the earth’ rather than as citizens of a particular state. Independently of their nationality, all humans are world citizens. 

Governments, as institutions with incredible power to shape the lives of all people, inside and outside of their borders, have the obligation to all people. Thomas Pogge, Professor at Yale University, explains that:

Insofar as human agents are involved in the design or administration of global rules, practices or organisations, they ought to disregard their private and local – including national – loyalties and allegiances to give equal consideration to the needs and interests of every human being on this planet.

Thus, we must recognize a universal state of humankind and create political systems that enforce it. Our current system is incompatible with this goal, as Colin Cronin 09 explains

Imagine attempting to achieve distributive justice on a world scale under the current state system. Although the concept of distributive justice has been defined in different ways, we can consider its fundamental principle to be a more equal allocation of rights and resources among all people in a given society (city, state, world, etc.) based on their need.[61] Beitz’s international distributive justice stems from the ideas of states as interdependent cooperatives and the natural distribution of resources as morally arbitrary.[62] Taken to its logical end, Beitz’s argument is that states do not have inherent entitlements to resources and that they should distribute these resources among humanity as a whole, giving more to those who need more. The problem with this principle of international distributive justice in a world of sovereign states is that it views the world in terms of humans when the main political unit is still the state. Global distributive justice conceives of world order with humans as the principal unit, but under a system of state sovereignty any “framework of international order is inhospitable” to these cosmopolitan forms of justice and morality.

Essentially, recognizing all humans as equal world citizens can’t happen without a world structure, because each individual state views international relations in the lens of what is best for their state. Whereas, cosmopolitanism views international relations in terms of what serves all of humanity. Thus, Cronin 09 furthers that in order to be a cosmopolitan society, we are 

The emergence of a world community would also mean that world society has found a set of shared values and goals to work towards. If world society came to embody the goals and values of cosmopolitan morality, then they would be obliged to create a corresponding political structure such as a world federation or world state. This obligation arises because the goals and values of cosmopolitanism cannot be embodied by the system of state sovereignty. World society would have to reform the principal agent of international politics. Choosing not to do this would mean one of two things: a failure to recognize the limitations of the sovereign state system or a false claim to believe in cosmopolitan morality.

The value criterion, therefore, is Moving Towards a Cosmopolitan Global Society.

Similar to how people were once in a state of nature, both Kant and Hobbes recognize that governments are also in a state of nature with each other. Thus, just as we needed a governmental body to protect individuals in the state of nature, we need the same for states. Kant writes, 

While the purposeless state of savagery did hold up the development of all the natural capacities of human beings, it nonetheless finally forced [humans to] them, through the evils in which it involved them, to leave this state and enter into a civil constitution in which all their dormant capacities could be developed. The same applies to the barbarous freedom of established states. For while the full development of natural capacities is here likewise held up by the expenditure of each commonwealth’s whole resources on armaments against the others, and by the depredations caused by war (but most of all by the necessity of constantly remaining in readiness for war), the resultant evils still have a beneficial effect. For they compel our species to discover a law of equilibrium to to regulate the essentially healthy hostility which prevails among the states [that] and is produced by their freedom.:..,. men are compelled to reinforce this law by introducing a system of united power, hence a cosmopolitan system of general political security. This state of affairs is not completely free from danger, lest human energies should lapse into inactivity, but it is also not without a principle of equaliy governing the actions and counter-actions of these energies, lest they should destroy one another. 

A world state, thus, guarantees a rule of law among states. Kai Nielsen philosophy professor at the University of Calgary writes

In a world of independent nation-states, there[s] would be no such device to enforce compliance; in such a world there could be no international law with teeth and thus no rule of international law by which that law could enforce its verdicts. For security, if for nothing else, we need a world state with international law capable of enforcing its verdicts. 

Therefore, because all people have an equal claim to all parts of the earth, we need political institutions to mandate this, because independent sovereign states are incapable of doing so. This requires establishing a cosmopolitan world government capable of regulating international relations and enforcing those regulations. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *