Debating global justice with Carr: the crisis of laissez faire and the legitimacy problem in the twenty-first century

Haro Karkour

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Abstract

In Carr’s ethics, there is a link between the rise of the socialised nation and the crisis of laissez faire due to its loss of legitimacy among the lesser privileged. How far is this link in Carr’s ethics relevant today? There are two aspects to this relevance – theoretical and empirical. Theoretically, the article argues, Carr’s analysis is relevant to the statist-cosmopolitan debate on global justice. It highlights the political vacuum in which this debate operates in the absence of a framework of rights and obligations under laissez faire. Consequently, statist and cosmopolitan arguments are implicit in their acceptance of the violence committed by the status quo and lack the legitimacy Carr deemed necessary for international justice in the age of the socialised nation. The article then turns to highlight the empirical relevance of this critique. Here, it argues that the resurgence of nationalism in world politics shows that the problem of legitimacy is especially pressing today. The article thus calls for the debate on global justice to engage more seriously with Carr’s analysis of the crisis of laissez faire – specifically the legitimacy problem it raises in the twenty-first century.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Political Theory
Early online date21 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Brexit
  • classical realism
  • E. H. Carr
  • global justice
  • Trump

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