In current debates about global justice, statist and nationalist theories appeal to the right to selfdetermination in argument against egalitarianism beyond borders, and in general as a reason for caution about substantive international duties of justice, lest the exercise of self-determination would be too tightly constrained. Has self-determination-an important heritage of decolonization-no longer a role to play in the argument against international inequality and disempowerment? In this article, I examine a dominant interpretation of self-determination in the global justice debate, as defended prominently by John Rawls and David Miller and find it wanting. Specifically, two challenges are raised: at the conceptual level this interpretation leaves unclarified the distinction and relationship between sovereignty and self-determination; at the normative level, this interpretation adopts a sufficiency view of international distributive justice that neglects that problem of relative extents and measures of self-determination, beyond the threshold. While the article's argument is mainly of a critical scope, it is suggested that a more robust theoretical account is required of the content of the right of self-determination, and in particular of the freedoms that the right confers to the right-holders in the socioeconomic domains and their extents.
- David Miller
- Global justice
- International investment law
- John Rawls
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations