Department of Political Science


Julio Montero

PhD Candidate in Political Theory

Holding image

Provisional dissertation title

  • World Poverty and Moral Responsibility: A Theory of Global Duties


The goal of my dissertation is to make an original contribution to the current debate on global distributive justice by developing an account of global responsibilities. This account will establish what kind of obligations different agents have regarding international justice and global poverty. This will be an original contribution to the subject-matter insofar as the several existing theories on the field do not take properly into account questions of moral responsibility and agency, what renders them either mistaken or incomplete.

Thus, I hope to develop an account of global duties and responsibilities. This implies two tasks. First, I will work out a general theory of moral responsibility. This theory will establish a set of conditions that ought to be met in order for it to be said that a certain agent is responsible for a certain state of affairs (e.g. global poverty), and should therefore face the burdens that this state of affairs involves. This requires providing a theory of duties specifying (a) what kind of moral duties are there (perfect and imperfect, primary and secondary, natural and special, direct and generative, etc.), and (b) what degrees of responsibility each of these types of duties involve. Second, this account of responsibility will be applied to issues of international justice and global poverty. In this sense, I will consider different agents, including individual citizens, world leaders, transnational corporations, affluent states, and international organisms, and define what specific duties they may have in terms of international distributive justice and poverty eradication. For this I will take into account not only claims regarding global justice, but also the overall duties that each of these agents have, their right to pursue agent-relative goals, and their real capacity to fulfill specific obligations.
In this way, I expect to develop an account of international justice capable of addressing the issue of global poverty by allocating clear duties to specific agents of justice.