On the enforceability of poverty-related responsibilities

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2019
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Christie, Lars
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We argue that even if an agent’s initial responsibilities are not very demanding, it can become permissible to burden her with significant costs if she culpably fails to discharge those responsibilities. In particular, we defend the claim that even if our responsibilities to assist others are not initially very demanding, our failure to live up to them can make us liable to possibly burdensome enforcement costs. Christian Barry and Gerhard Øverland (2016) disagree. They claim that other things equal, fewer costs may be imposed on an agent if she culpably fails to live up to her assistance-based responsibilities as opposed to her responsibilities not to contribute towards harm. Their thought is that our responsibilities to assist others are less demanding than our responsibilities not to contribute towards harm, and they assume that this asymmetry is matched by an asymmetry in the enforceability of the two types of responsibility. We agree with Barry and Øverland (2016) that our assistance-based responsibilities are less demanding than our contribution-based responsibilities. We argue that autonomy-based reasons support this asymmetry. Pace Barry and Øverland (2016), we claim that there is no reason to think that the two types of responsibility differ in their enforceability.

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ISO 690BURRI, Susanne, Lars CHRISTIE, 2019. On the enforceability of poverty-related responsibilities. In: Ethics & Global Politics. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. 2019, 12(1), pp. 68-75. ISSN 1654-4951. eISSN 1654-6369. Available under: doi: 10.1080/16544951.2019.1565607
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@article{Burri2019-03-06enfor-54287,
  year={2019},
  doi={10.1080/16544951.2019.1565607},
  title={On the enforceability of poverty-related responsibilities},
  number={1},
  volume={12},
  issn={1654-4951},
  journal={Ethics & Global Politics},
  pages={68--75},
  author={Burri, Susanne and Christie, Lars}
}
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