National and Cosmopolitan Solidarity

Some social liberals defend a restricted scope of redistributive international obligations with reference to the lack of conditions for cosmopolitan solidarity. I will call this the ‘argument from motivation’ (see Lenard in this volume) against concepts of cosmopolitan solidarity. The ‘argument from motivation’ as I understand it holds that cosmopolitan authors have yet to provide compelling reasons why we should be motivated to contribute a share of our income, say, to the cause of international redistributive justice. When thinking about redistributive justice we have to consider what brings about principles of justice, and under what circumstances they can be implemented. One of the most important conditions, so the argument says, is a feeling of solidarity. Solidarity as it is needed for the purposes of redistributive justice is tied to the fact that individuals identify with their community and the welfare of its members. For social liberals, such conditions come about in the context of a shared national identity. The shared national identity functions as a ‘battery’ (Canovan, 1996) generating a sense of common purpose and of being involved in a common project. In this sense, solidarity is not a universalist feeling, but one that extends primarily to co-nationals.

Publié dans Articles scientifiques, Publications.