Ethics & International Affairs

Symposium: World Poverty and Human Rights

World Poverty and Human Rights

Thomas Pogge

Despite a high and growing global average income, billions of human beings are still condemned to life long severe poverty, with all its attendant evils of low life expectancy, social exclusion, ill health, illiteracy, dependency, and effective enslavement. The annual death toll from poverty-related causes is around 18 million, or one-third of all human deaths, which adds up to approximately 270 million deaths since the end of the Cold War.

Thomas Pogge has been teaching moral and political philosophy at Columbia University since receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University. His recent publications include the edited volume, Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right (2005); Real World Justice (co-edited with Andreas Follesdal, 2005); World Poverty and Human Rights (2002); “Can the Capability Approach be Justified?” (Philosophical Topics, 2002); and, with Sanjay Reddy, “How Not to Count the Poor” ( He is editor for social and political philosophy for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science. His work was supported, most recently, by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, All Souls College, Oxford, and the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda. He is currently Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Australian National University (an Australian Research Council-funded Special Research Centre).