Social Philosophy and Policy


Chandran  Kukathas  a1
a1 Neal A. Maxwell Professor of Political Theory, Public Policy, and Public Service, University of Utah

Article author query
kukathas c   [Google Scholar] 


The political pursuit of global justice is not a worthy goal, and our aims in establishing international legal and political institutions should be more modest. The pursuit of justice in the international order is dangerous to the extent that it requires the establishment of powerful supranational agencies, or legitimizes greater and more frequent exercise of political, economic, and military power by strong states or coalitions. The primary concern in the establishment and design of all legal and political institutions should be not to secure justice but to limit power. It is a mistake to think that a distinction can be drawn between power created to do good and power created to do evil, or that we are capable of devising institutions that can honor the distinction. a


a For helpful comments on earlier drafts of this essay, I would like to thank Jerry Gaus, David Miller, Dan Greenwood, Peggy Battin, Leslie Francis, Erika George, Cindy Stark, and Deen Chatterjee, as well as my fellow contributors to this volume. For especially detailed and helpful editorial comments and advice, I would like to thank Ellen Paul.