Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Justice under Anarchy: Rawlsian Global Justice with New Zealand as a Case Study

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posted on 2021-11-14, 13:11 authored by Ivory, Andrew

This thesis makes an innovative argument for global justice by exploring neglected areas of Rawlsian theory, and using New Zealand as a case study. An enquiry into the Rawlsian view of domestic justice is included because it acts as a basis for Rawlsian global justice.  In giving its view of global justice, the thesis argues for a global difference principle focused on persons. This argument includes an exploration of a neglected aspect of the principle; how it is constrained by the duty of assistance and the just savings principle. The thesis will also show that the global difference principle makes demands on developed nations because they can help realize the principle by improving conditions in developing nations by using Official Development Assistance (ODA). It is also likely that developed nations can improve conditions in the developing world by using the international factor of trade. However, rather than just focusing on this factor, the thesis reasons it is best to use this factor in tandem with ODA. The thesis also shows that developed nations should provide ODA by demonstrating how the numerous pledges made by developed nations over the years regarding ODA amount to promises, and that promises have moral significance.  Before moving on to discuss New Zealand’s ODA programme, the thesis examines one of Rawls’s international principles of justice, the freedom and independence of peoples principle, and how it applies to New Zealand. In making an argument for the principle, the thesis shows how the principle can fit into a global justice framework, and adds to the literature by showing how the principle should treat small polities. The thesis also assesses how New Zealand’s history of colonialism has and has not respected the principle. This history also affects New Zealand’s ODA programme, so much so that one can be justified in describing this programme as being a relic of this history. This programme will be the subject of the final topic-based chapter. Previous assessments of the programme have been done with no, or a limited, normative framework. By this point a detailed Rawlsian normative framework, along with a picture of ODA’s efficacy, is in place, and is used to analyse the programme. This analysis includes the policy recommendations of monetarily enlarging the programme, focusing the programme on the globally least advantaged, and giving more of the programme’s funds to multilateral agencies.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Political Science

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Marquez, Xavier; Das, Ramon