Revising global theories of justice to include public goods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


Our aim in this paper is to suggest that most current theories of global justice fail to adequately recognise the importance of global public goods. Broadly speaking, this failing can be attributed at least in part to the complexity of the global context, the individualistic focus of most theories of justice, and the localised nature of the theoretical foundations of most theories of global justice. We argue – using examples (particularly that of protecting antibiotic efficacy) – that any truly effective theory of global justice must recognise the importance of global public goods. Global public goods confer significant benefits to individuals yet can only be effectively promoted and preserved through collective action and the restriction of individual choice; something which most theories of justice are structurally unequipped to sufficiently promote.

Bibliographic note

Special Issue, edited by Monique Deveaux


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-243
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Global Ethics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • global justice, public goods, well-being, choice, antibiotic resistance, antibiotic efficacy, vaccination