International Justice

The position is roughly this: if international trade is a coercive practice in which countries which lose from it can not actually withdraw, is there an imperative to create a coercive institution that can regulate the practice of int. trade such that it benefits the least well off, or at least redresses some of the relative depravity it produces. If this is the case then the imperative is for States to give up their sovereignty to a foreign (meta-national) body, in other words, form a coercive world state.

Cosmopolitans often oppose the world state, but this position is untenable because if states do not give up their autonomy, their membership in international treatise doesn’t move past the stage of unenforced contract law. States appear internationally as individuals who cannot found a state because their interest is not to actualize themselves in the league of nations, but rather to promote their own interests as a whole, represented by a leader or delegation.

So, the question is, twofold. On the one hand, is it even coherent for a state to give up its sovereignty – doesn’t this mean its dissolution? Or, the other hand, if it is possible to create a coercive world state, should we as philosophers tell states that they ought give up their sovereignty, and be completely ignored because it will never be in the best interests of individual states, but only, and only potentially, in the interests of the least well off in states as a whole.


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