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The distribution of justice on a global stage in
times of rapid globalisation is a topic of much contention due to issues such
as morality and practicality. On one hand, statists defend the view that
distributive justice should be restricted to a domestic level, whilst
cosmopolitans stand in favour of extending it to the global level. I aim to
argue that shared membership to a state that binds fellow-citizens is not
such to justify that we owe more to them, as a matter of justice, than we do
to others, on the grounds of both relational and non-relational factors. For
the purpose of this essay, what we “owe” in relation to the question will be
understood as our positive and negative duties of justice towards
fellow-citizens and others. In the first section I will define the terms
‘fellow-citizen’ and ‘owe’ and the implications such definitions have for
distributive justice. Secondly, I will assess the relational argument for
distributing justice while drawing on the existence of global institutional
order and its implications in distributive justice. Third, I will explore the
significance of borders and the scope of institutions in determining the
scope of justice. 
key terms and its implications for distributive justice
Defining the concept of ‘fellow-citizen’ requires
its comparison to ‘fellow-national’ in order to better understand our duties
of justice. When one shares citizenship, this means that he/she has a shared
membership to a political entity, namely, a state. The term ‘fellow-citizen’
can therefore be considered an “objective reality of the identity between
state and society.” (Palmowski,
2008, p. 89)
In contrast, nationality is relatively subjective, in that, there is a degree
of sentimental value it holds. This indicates that, as groups, ‘fellow-citizen’
and ‘fellow-national’ do not coincide, as there need to be a distinction from
the “value of national self-determination among fellow-nationals to the requirement for partiality for fellow-citizens.” (Miklós,
2009, p. 123)
Therefore, when discussing our duties of justice towards fellow-citizens and
others, we adopt this objective definition in considering whether shared
membership to a state is such to justify that we owe more to them than we do
to others. In doing so, we are less concerned with Miller’s argument
concerning nationalist attachments being intrinsically rather than
instrumentally valuable in order to justify distributing justice within the
domestic realm (Miller, 2005) as we are
concerned with citizenship as an objective form of identity which does not
carry with it sentimental value as nationalism does.
With that in mind, what has not been discussed is the
instrumental justification offered by nationalists that fellow-citizens are
more entitled than others on the grounds of being better positioned to
account for one another’s interests (Goodin, 1988). According to
Goodin, this would make it more practical and just to prioritise
fellow-citizens over others as it would be more efficient than extending our
duties beyond borders to those that are not subjected to the same
institutions that characterise the nation to which we belong. However, such
an argument is not entirely plausible as it predisposes that as
fellow-citizens we share more than just a legal status but historical
consciousness, culture and values to therefore have one another’s interests
at heart. Furthermore, the argument concerning our association as
fellow-citizens being grounded by the subjection to institutions can be extended
beyond borders due to the existence of global institutions as discussed in greater
depth later on in this essay.
As for what the term ‘owe’ entails in terms of
justice, we must distinguish between positive and negative duties. Rawls’ defines
positive duties as a “duty to do good for another” while negative duties “requires
us not to do something bad.” (Rawls, 1971, p. 114) This essay will be
concerned with our negative duties of justice, to not act unjustly by
inflicting harm on others, as detailed by Pogge. The implications this has
for distributive justice has much to do with the observation that inhabitants
of developed countries do, to a large extent, benefit from imposing “unjust
institutional orders on others” (Armstrong, 2012, p. 24). Moreover, while a
compromise could be reached regarding positive duties, which nationalists, or
even realists defend should not apply to citizens owing anything to those
outside their community, it is questionably immoral to accept that we do not then
have negative duties of justice.

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