Exploring communal cosmopolitanism and the issue of global migration




Rayo-Garza, Coda Edith

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In this thesis I argue that recent cosmopolitan solutions of global justice lack a complete understanding of the second principle of cosmopolitanism, i.e. equal moral concern. Consequently, current solutions of global justice undermine the role of community in global justice. I argue that true equal moral concern entails thinking about the individual as a communal individual, which means respecting their autonomy and communal ties. Therefore, cosmopolitan solutions to global issues, such as open borders and a global difference principle (that suggests resource redistribution) are misguided. I have drawn from the philosophy of John Rawls to suggest that the difference principle is, in fact, more cosmopolitan than theorists have suggested when it is thought of in terms of not mere resources, but primarily opportunities. I argue that the Rawlsian conception of justice (as being carried out institutionally) and his consideration for peoples, not just states, also support the idea of a difference principle in terms of opportunities. I posit that failure to think primarily in terms of opportunities versus resources is a major reason why moral cosmopolitans have yet to present feasible solutions to global issues. Alternatively, I rethink the principle of equal moral concern and highlight one of the most problematic aspects: the problem of the communal individual. I introduce communal cosmopolitanism as a new form of cosmopolitanism. Additionally, I test the practicality of my theory by examining the issue of global migration in the United States and Mexico. First, I propose that open borders are not a sustainable solution for the communal individual. Second, many proposed solutions of global justice violate the principle of equal moral concern, as well as the global difference principle that many moral cosmopolitans support. As an alternative, I have shown that guest worker programs fall in line with a communal cosmopolitanism once certain modifications have been made. These include: (1) Form treaties between countries of heavy migration pattern that guarantee protection of rights, (2) Modify the H1-B guest worker program so that it respects the communal individual and provides equal moral consideration by providing compensation for brain drain, (3) Modify the guest worker program so that it falls in line with the difference principle to benefit the least well off, (4) Offer H2-A and H2-B guest workers an employer requested path to citizenship with certain provisions being met so that they may be able to advance economically. Lastly, I present four main arguments against the morality of the guest worker programs and shown that they are proved incorrect by a cosmopolitan guest worker program.


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Cosmopolitanism, Global Justice, Global Migration, Guest Worker, Immigration



Political Science and Geography