By Veit Bader (eds.)
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Extra info for Citizenship and Exclusion
Given that we - those who recognize a weighty moral responsibility toward foreigners in desperate need - have only limited resources at our disposal and cannot possibly devote ourselves to every worthy political goal, we should focus our efforts to where we can achieve the most toward overcoming the greatest injustice of our time: the impoverishment and starvation of hundreds of millions of people. We should stop attempting to get more needy foreigners admitted into the rich countries and instead concentrate on improving the local living conditions of the global poor through international institutional reforms, like the Tobin Tax or the GRD, and through effective international aid organizations, like UNICEF and Oxfam.
First a temporal one: "as long as" measures to fight poverty are not taken or as long as they are not really effective, "we" (individuals, organizations, states) in the rich countries of the Northern hemisphere have no moral right to close borders. And secondly, a gradational one: to the degree that "we" do not live up to our international moral obligations, we have no moral right to close borders. This double "if' makes all other arguments conditional upon the fulfillment of our moral obligations with regard to security and subsistence.
Morally, rich countries faced with strong moral arguments for global redistribution have only two options. ). The argument puts the finger on the festering sore of poverty and severe injustice and urgently asks for effective policies in this regard. It is intended to weaken and undermine standard arguments in political rhetoric and practical philosophy in favour of closed borders: they can only be morally legitimate, whatever their internal value, if, and to the degree to which, states live up to the minimal moral obligations following from humanitarian obligations and from distributive justice.