Public Opinion and Global Justice

Noel, A. & Therien, J.P. Comparative Political Studies

The concept of global justice has been developed to stress the worldwide implications of moral problems. Not much, however, has been written about the actual politics of global justice. This article focuses on public opinion and argues that attitudes about international redistribution are not a simple projection of attitudes about the domestic situation. In countries where domestic income redistribution is seen as an important priority, foreign aid is less popular; where this is less so, there is more concern for the fate of the poor in the South. Far from reflecting a lack of coherence in public opinion, these counterintuitive results need to be understood in connection with policy achievements in donor countries. The authors' empirical findings suggest that although the commitment to redistribute is stronger at the national level, relationships of solidarity do not stop at national boundaries. The achievement of justice at home in fact sustains justice abroad.