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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29699

Title: Odious Debts and Global Justice
Authors: Dimitriu, Cristian
Advisor: Ripstein, Arthur
Department: Philosophy
Keywords: Political Philosophy
Global Justice
Issue Date: 30-Aug-2011
Abstract: In this dissertation, I attempt to clarify the concept of odious debts and its relationship with global justice theory. Odious debts are debts that are not binding for the citizens of a country, as they were incurred by an illegitimate government in their name but were used for private purposes. I approach the problem of odious debts from two different perspectives. First, I explore the possible connections between odious debts and the contemporary debate on global justice. I argue that current debates on global justice have focused on the extremely important question of whether the international order is harmful or coercive, but have sometimes reached wrong conclusions about this issue. While some scholars have argued that the international order is not coercive at all, others have argued that it is, but did not find a persuasive way of making the point. Odious debts become relevant in this context, because they show a different way in which the global order could be said to be coercive. Second, I develop an account of odious debts from a moral point of view. I argue that a big portion of the debts of the poorest countries are not binding and therefore countries are morally entitled to repudiate them. An implication of this is that lenders have no moral right to demand repayment of odious debts. The reason why some debts are not binding is that citizens should only be held liable for debts incurred in their name when the money that is the basis of that debt is used for legitimate public purposes, not private ones. Whenever ruler acts in accordance to private purposes, states are no longer collectively responsible for the acts incurred in their name. This follows from a proper understanding of social contract theories but also, I argue, from a utilitarian perspective.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29699
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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