Politics, Philosophy & Economics http://ppe.sagepub.


Sharing the costs of political injustices
Avia Pasternak Politics Philosophy Economics 2011 10: 188 originally published online 29 November 2010 DOI: 10.1177/1470594X10368260 The online version of this article can be found at: http://ppe.sagepub.com/content/10/2/188

Published by:

On behalf of:
The Murphy Institute of Political Economy

Additional services and information for Politics, Philosophy & Economics can be found at: Email Alerts: http://ppe.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Subscriptions: http://ppe.sagepub.com/subscriptions Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Permissions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav

>> Version of Record - Apr 28, 2011 OnlineFirst Version of Record - Nov 29, 2010 What is This?

Downloaded from ppe.sagepub.com by guest on January 30, 2013

Politics, Philosophy & Economics 10(2) 188–210 ª The Author(s) 2010 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/1470594X10368260 ppe.sagepub.com

Sharing the costs of political injustices
Avia Pasternak University College London, UK

Abstract It is commonly thought that when democratic states act wrongly, they should bear the costs of the harm they cause. However, since states are collective agents, their financial burdens pass on to their individual citizens. This fact raises important questions about the proper distribution of the state’s collective responsibility for its unjust policies. This article identifies two opposing models for sharing this collective responsibility in democracies: first, in proportion to citizens’ personal association with the unjust policy; second, by giving each citizen an equal share of the costs. Proportional distribution is compatible with the principle of fairness. And yet, both in the literature and in political praxis we find many supporters for the equal sharing of the costs of unjust policies in democracies. How can equal distribution be defended on normative grounds? This article develops a defense that is grounded in citizens’ associative obligations. I argue that, at least in some democracies, one of the intrinsic values of the civic bond revolves around the joint formation and execution of worthy political goals. This social good generates the political associative obligation to accept an equal distribution of the costs of unjust policies. Keywords Responsibility, collective responsibility, associative obligations, civic duties, shared actions and intentions When democratic states adopt harmful and unjust policies, it is common practice to hold them responsible for the consequences of the injustice. However, when democratic states are made to bear the consequences of their unjust policies, it is their citizens who actually share the burdens. This fact raises important questions about the just rules for the

Corresponding author: School of Public Policy, University College London, 29/30 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9QU, UK Email: avia.pasternak@ucl.ac.uk

Downloaded from ppe.sagepub.com by guest on January 30, 2013

In other words. for example. then.2 In the example above. and perhaps more importantly. and be subject to responses such as anger. Dworkin. 1990. the consequential responsibility of states is. 1999b: 105–6. the burden will be discharged by the flesh and blood citizens of the state: in the case mentioned above. 1999). However. global inequality. thus diminishing its ability to provide services and public goods. Barry. and perhaps even punishment. here.sagepub. then Israel ought to bear the costs of compensation to the Palestinians. or phenomena which brought about a particular outcome. when a state is charged with consequential responsibility for an unjust policy. and parts of what used to be Palestinian land have been appropriated by Israeli settlers.com by guest on January 30. 2013 . 2005. the Israeli government would have to extract the resources needed for this compensation from its citizens. de facto. Since assigning burdens to states implies that their citizens will pay the price. To see these questions more clearly. We find this position expressed. The notion of ‘responsibility’ can be interpreted in various ways in this and in similar contexts. but also. Since 1967 the state of Israel has occupied what is now commonly referred to as the Palestinian Territories.1 Moral responsibility implies. Miller. possibly.6 This article focuses on the attribution of consequential responsibility for the unjust policies of democratic governments. it follows that the rules for the assignment of consequential responsibility for political injustices must identify not only the responsible collective agents (states and governments). either directly by raising an ‘occupation tax’ or indirectly by using its already existing resources. as well as in both international and domestic law (see. Shue. the attribution of blame (or praise) to the responsible agent.5 Notice that consequential responsibility is distinct from both causal responsibility and moral responsibility: causal responsibility points to the agent. a complete account of consequential responsibility for unjust policies in democracies must include a set of rules for the distribution of that Downloaded from ppe. were the Palestinian people to receive compensation from Israel. 2001.3 Consequential responsibility is defined here as the assignment of the burdens which the injustice brought about.7 A standard position on this matter is that when democratic governments act badly. resentment. as a matter of fact. consider the following example. and war crimes. Rawls. the individual agents who will end up with the bill. most importantly the duty to compensate the victims of the injustice. their states ought to pay the price. To put it differently. consequential responsibility concerns the distribution of the burdens that result from that outcome. and moral responsibility concerns the blameworthiness or praiseworthiness of the agent who brought about or participated in bringing about the outcome.Pasternak 189 distribution of collective responsibility in democracies. for example. in many theoretical debates on the assignment of consequential responsibility for climate change. if the Israeli government acted wrongly toward the Palestinian people. as determined by some plausible principle. Assuming these and other aspects of the Israeli occupation are unjust. The two meanings which will be discussed here are moral responsibility and consequential responsibility.4 If the Israeli government is consequentially responsible for the harm caused to the Palestinian people as result of the occupation of their land. Palestinians have been denied political independence. many people would find it plausible to argue that Israel is responsible for the injustices caused by the occupation. the shared responsibility of their citizens. Israel should be blamed for this behavior. with the formal and informal encouragement of Israeli governments. object.

on the other hand. equal distribution (ED). states are the institutional units which. 2013 . Two rules for assigning responsibility for political injustices Democratic governments often adopt unjust policies. ignores citizens’ personal association with the harm and distributes its costs on an equal basis. then. Pettit. This social good is what I refer to as ‘solidary action’. friends. Accordingly. This response is likely to be adopted in both the ‘corporatist’ and the ‘individualist’ accounts of the democratic state. In Section 3. it will generate the obligation to comply with an ED of the costs of collective injustices. at least in some democracies. As I show. the intuitive defense of an ED which is grounded in the notion of democratic authorization has the disadvantage of not being applicable to those citizens who protest against the policies of their government. Its core drawback is that it is not very practical. At least in those cases. who are uncomfortable with the idea that groups are moral agents (see Corlett. which I refer to as ‘proportional distribution’ and ‘equal distribution’. Lewis. 2007: 199). it corresponds well with our intuitions about fairness and personal responsibility. are still likely to agree that. Individualists. 2001. It has the obvious advantage of being more practical.8 Proportional distribution takes into account citizens’ personal association with the unjust policy when distributing its cost. 2001. an ED is partly constitutive of an intrinsically valuable social good that characterizes the relationship between citizens. 1. One of the tasks of the political theorist is to flesh out these injustices and to point the finger at those who should remedy them. the standard response to this question focuses on the consequential responsibility of the state for the unjust policies perpetrated by its current (or past) government. specifically in the context of democratic states. They are generated by the intrinsic value of the relationship. and is the good that is generated by collectively forming and executing worthy shared goals. As I suggest in Section 1. an ED may be justified on more than practical grounds. at least in the first instance. and that obligation is potentially applicable to most citizens. I develop an alternative defense of ED that is grounded in the notion of associative obligations. 1991).190 Politics. there are at least two possible rules for the distribution of consequential responsibility for political injustices. In cases in which solidary action is indeed perceived as an intrinsic good of the political community. as a matter of practicality. Corporatists would assign the consequential responsibility to the state because they perceive it as an independent moral agent which should be held responsible for its actions (Erskine. should be encumbered with the task of discharging the costs of an unjust policy caused by their Downloaded from ppe. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) burden between the citizens of the state. 1984. But at whom should the political theorist point her finger? Who should bear the costs of remedying a political injustice which was decided upon by a democratically elected government in a well-functioning democracy? As I suggested earlier. sometimes in the face of public protest. of which they are partly constitutive. But.sagepub. The second rule of distribution.com by guest on January 30. Theorists of associative obligations argue that these obligations exist between those in certain relationships (family members. I suggest that this line of argument can sometimes be used in order to defend an ED of the consequential responsibility for political injustices. but it is not clear what normative argument can support it. and compatriots). This article offers an investigation of these rules. Sections 2 and 3 of the article deal with this question. French.

a PD of the consequential responsibility of the occupation would probably imply that at least the ideological leaders of the settlers’ movement. In what follows. for example. there will be those individual citizens who had a greater role in bringing about specific unjust policies (for example. But. ED gives each Downloaded from ppe. We may therefore think it right to distribute the costs of remedying a political injustice in accordance with citizens’ level of association with that injustice. I focus here on one specific PD which takes into account citizens’ morally blameworthy contributions to the unjust policy (by that I mean contributions which citizens knew or should have known were wrong and were able to avoid).sagepub. We are therefore faced with a crucial question that is left unanswered by the standard response: Which individual citizens should carry the burden of the injustice? One answer to this question is that the burden of the injustice should fall on those citizens who are more responsible for it: government policies are collective actions. Rather. and assign the consequential responsibility for the harm in proportion to the level of that association. Israeli left-wing activists. at first glance. namely.Pasternak 191 governments. Proportional distributions identify some important way (or ways) in which citizens are associated with the collective harm caused by their state. even a short examination of the theoretical discussions on this matter and (I would venture) of common political praxis reveals that often PD is not the preferred form of distribution. A fair distribution of gains and burdens allocates them according to some relevant characteristics or traits of the parties. as we saw earlier. an alternative distribution which is often adopted is what one may call ‘equal distribution’.com by guest on January 30. who share greater moral responsibility for the harms of the occupation than. For simplicity’s sake. 2013 . and their individual citizens end up paying for their unjust policies. would bear a greater share of the burden. PD is advocated by several theorists as the normatively preferred way for distributing consequential responsibility for political injustices. Take. I will refer to a distribution that follows this intuition as a ‘proportional distribution’ (PD). by identifying those individuals who are morally responsible for the injustice to a greater degree and assigning to them a greater share of the burden. causal contributions to the unjust policy. in which they argue that ‘to evaluate the moral considerations touching on claims between states. a PD corresponds well with our basic moral intuitions about fairness and personal responsibility. As this example suggests. for example. one needs to penetrate the veil of the state and consider the activities of the people who operate their governments and the people who are affected by their policies’ (2007: 21). Cass Sunstein and Eric Posner’s recent work on the burdens of climate change injustice. To give an example. In opposition to PD. Whether it is grounded in a corporatist or in an individualist position. as with all collective actions. A PD of the cost of the unjust policy does precisely that. say. failures to act against it. and perhaps even benefits from it. the normatively recommended way to distribute the costs of a political injustice.12 While PD seems to be. the expression and result of the shared intentions and actions of the democratic collective or of parts of it. in the case of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. States are collective entities with no real pockets.11 Indeed. through their greater levels of support and complicity). Relevant factors that can play a role here are. the claim that the state should bear the costs of remedying a political injustice does not fully disclose the identity of the consequentially responsible agents.

for example. a PD of the consequential responsibility for an unjust policy could be extremely costly (Miller. for example. in her work on citizens’ responsibility for global labor injustice. One factor that is sometimes mentioned concerns the negative side effects that a PD can have on group members. nominally equal shares for each citizen or equal shares adjusted to citizens’ relative capacity to pay. and no one. and through the economic system generally .16 A second factor that may support an ED over PD concerns practicality: due to the size and complex structure of the modern political community. emphasis added) In a similar vein. can escape the effects of a bad regime. instead of engaging in the forward-looking task of securing just global supply chains (Young.13 Note that several specific interpretations of ‘equal share’ are possible here. emphasis added). how difficult it would be to implement a pure PD of the costs of the decades-long Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.. rather than singling out those who share greater moral responsibility for the wrongs of the occupation. who argues that reparations [for war crimes] can hardly be collected only from those members of the defeated state who were active supporters of the aggression. For example. for example. Instead. 2007:116. citizenship is a common destiny.15 What could be the attraction of ED over PD for theorists and for policymakers? Several factors play a potential role here. What these interpretations share in common is the understanding that while citizens should bear the burden of the unjust policy on some equal basis. as part of her discussion of consequential responsibility for global injustices. in the (as yet imaginary) case of Israeli compensation to the Palestinians. the costs are distributed through the tax system. Young’s concerns could well apply to the specific case of unjust policies in democracies. (1992: 297.com by guest on January 30. we can imagine that the Israeli government would compensate Palestinians by raising the general tax burden on Israeli citizens and by distributing the costs of compensation as equally as possible between Israeli citizens. Goodin.sagepub. These theoretical endorsements of some version of ED are to a large extent echoed in political practice: we are used to governments paying for their misdeeds by using taxpayers’ money and disregarding individual citizens’ share of personal responsibility for the collective harm. mentions that a PD of the responsibility for this collective injustice points the finger of blame at some individual members of industrialized countries. for example. regardless of their level of personal moral responsibility for it. Here too a PD of the burden may lead to mutual accusations and internal divisions. 2004: 378–9). It therefore encourages citizens to attempt to escape their share of responsibility. and that would be avoided if an ED is adopted. Iris Young. by Michael Walzer. 2013 .192 Politics. and overall have a detrimental effect on relations within a political community. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) citizen an equal share of the costs of the unjust policy. while exonerating others..14 An ED of the burdens of injustice is advocated. their personal association with the unjust policy should not be taken into account when distributing its cost. not even its opponents. In this sense. Consider. The government would have to determine the Downloaded from ppe. Debra Satz argues that ‘we can legitimately hold people accountable to redress wrongdoing that they did not themselves commit by pointing to their responsibilities as members of a society that did commit wrongdoing’ (2005: 50. An ED might serve the political community better by protecting stability and good civic relationships. 1987).

But still. or will have more negligible side effects. at least to some extent. Indeed. ED. then. the extent to which citizens knew. Should we conclude that in those cases PD is preferable to ED? Moreover. by treating alike both those who are to blame and those who are not. Accordingly. as we have seen. The specific nature of the political community in question must play some role in defining citizens’ obligations. Here it would seem counterintuitive to argue that the citizens have a civic obligation to accept the consequential responsibility for their government’s policies. are we making a normative compromise? After all. thus possibly leaving the costs with the victims. about the democratic setting (and perhaps about other types of regimes) that justifies an ED of the consequential responsibility for unjust policies? In the next sections. Downloaded from ppe. calculating. an ED of the costs of unjust policies has the obvious practical advantage of not requiring similarly complex calculations.19 Yet despite the fact that ED does not comply with our intuitions about fairness. or should have known. we seem to be much more comfortable with the idea that citizens of democratic political communities should bear equal consequential responsibility for their governments’ policies. we can assume that there will be some cases in which a PD is feasible. seems to fail the most basic fairness test. As Peter Cane notes. many supporters of ED would argue that it can be justified on more than practical grounds. These will help us to determine whether and when an ED in democracies can be justified on normative grounds. this practice is designed to protect the interests of the victims and ‘to increase the chance that those at fault will be held liable in the face of difficulties of proof’ (2002: 84). Even if it were possible to make such calculations. if indeed practicality leads us to prefer ED to PD. This position is echoed in the aforementioned citations from Satz and Walzer.sagepub. the very terms of membership of the democratic political community provide a strong normative justification for an ED – a justification which exceeds the practical considerations and which counteracts the fairness objection. on the other hand. inter alia. that their activities were harmful. What is it.Pasternak 193 specific morally blameworthy contributions of each Israeli citizen to the occupation over the years. Considerations of practicality or concerns about the aforementioned side effects of PD may lead us to favor ED in many cases of political injustice. In this respect. Consider.18 From this perspective. On the other hand. I will examine some answers to this question. the time and resources they require would render the whole project practically infeasible.com by guest on January 30.20 The claim that citizenship entails the moral obligation to share equally in the consequential responsibility for governmental policies requires further elaboration and supporting evidence. 2013 . PD is supported by our basic moral intuitions about fairness and personal responsibility: it identifies citizens who are to a greater degree morally responsible for the injustice and assigns to them a greater share of the burden. which assigns liability regardless of fault. for example. notice that ED does not seem to be equally attractive in all forms of political community. if only because the nature of political communities varies a great deal. a brutal and tyrannical regime whose government terrorizes its population and deprives it of even basic resources. After all. Both invoke the idea of membership of the political community as the source of a civic obligation to accept an equal share of the consequential responsibility for unjust policies. it would seem farfetched to argue that membership of a political community by definition entails the obligation to accept an equal share of the consequential responsibility for governmental injustices. an ED is equivalent to the legal practice of strict liability.

Since all have authorized. for example. 2007). It appears.194 Politics. according to which representatives should act as free agents (Pitkin. Take. according to which representatives follow the direct instructions of citizens. Hanna Pitkin’s seminal account of ‘substantial representation’. Pitkin argues that political representation consists of ‘promoting the interests of the represented . Miller likens democratic political communities to what he calls ‘co-operative groups’ (Miller.sagepub. The answers to this question usually attempt to strike a balance between the ‘mandate view’. at least in the general elections. The core intuition here is that in democratic groups the consequential responsibility for final policy decisions should be distributed on an equal basis. 2007: 113). for example. It rejects the claim that an ED is unfair to some citizens because. because it excludes citizens who protest enough against their government’s policies. In order to understand this weakness of the democratic authorization argument. because all members have authorized the outcome. where ‘the most significant forms of political Downloaded from ppe. albeit limited influence of citizens. the democratic authorization argument translates into the claim that citizens who participate or have a fair chance to participate. even if they themselves voted against that government. a citizen authorizes the actions of her elected representative so long as the representative does not act against her explicit objections. The democratic authorization defense of an ED One common defense of an ED in democracies concentrates on the idea of political authorization. or an opportunity to participate in them. In the context of representational democratic politics. all are consequentially responsible. regardless of their share of moral responsibility for the harm. Accordingly.. They can therefore be expected to bear the consequences of governmental policies. this account of political representation ‘comes closest to capturing the way the concept of representation has evolved in modern democratic states’. These notions are notoriously contested. in David Miller’s recent work on collective responsibility in democracies.. all members of the group should share the consequential responsibility for the damage. which arguably allows for the independent conduct of representatives as well as for the direct. and there are ongoing disagreements about the relationship that political representatives ought to have with citizens in whose name they allegedly act. and the ‘independence view’. by participating in the collective decisionmaking (or by having an opportunity to participate) they are committed to accepting the final outcome of the decision-making process and to sharing its costs. are authorizing the representative government to act in their name.22 While they may disagree on the group’s policies. but in such a way that [the latter] does not object to what is done in his name’ (1972: 21). 2013 . 7).21 As an illustration of an cooperative group. Miller (2007: 116) suggests that when a cooperative group makes a decision that has harmful consequences. we need to devote some attention to the notions of political authorization and representation.com by guest on January 30. he describes an employee-controlled firm whose participants ‘have a fair chance to influence the firm’s decisions’ (Miller. 1972: Ch. as a sufficient reason for sharing the consequential responsibility for the outcomes of these processes on an equal basis. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) 2. as it suggests.23 Yet I would argue that this rejection of the fairness objection to an ED is insufficient. all citizens have a fair chance to influence the collective decisions of the group. The democratic authorization argument views participation in authorization processes. As David Runciman notes.

it does not represent her. At least those citizens who protest to a sufficient degree against their government have not authorized it or at least have legitimately retracted their original authorization... it does not represent those who explicitly object to its policies. Pitkin suggests that the policies of political representatives are authorized by citizens only to the extent that citizens do not explicitly object to those policies.. 2006: 429). We can probably agree with Miller that citizens who have a fair chance of participation in a democratic process do at least apparently authorize their government to act in their name. unless a sufficiently large number of members of the public object to its policy. and therefore need to make a clear statement of their disapproval of governmental policies. that democratic politics have less to do with the representation of individual citizens (as in. The democratic authorization argument will not apply to these citizens. specifically.Pasternak 195 control . and therefore morally preferable. amounts to an important objection to the democratic authorization defense of an ED. I develop such a justification. A democratic government can plausibly argue that it represents the public. This conclusion implies. then we are bound to conclude that when an individual citizen objects to a governmental policy. that is. on the part of the represented. The alternative defense that will be developed in the reminder of this article addresses this problem by drawing upon the idea of associative obligations (AOs). such Downloaded from ppe. It has been suggested that the political obligations of citizens. and therefore should not be seen as equally authorizing the unjust policy.. 2013 . the point here is that the democratic authorization argument is wrong to suggest that all citizens of a democracy authorize their governments to act in their name. For if we accept this criterion. The question then is whether we can provide an alternative justification for ED which could also potentially apply to those citizens who protest enough against the unjust policy. which Runciman refers to as the ‘non-objection criterion’. that policy is no longer performed in her name. This limitation. AOs are obligations that those in certain social groups and relationships have to each other. who can rightly argue that a PD which takes into account the extent to which they actually support the unjust policy is more fair. as a group. or the public. derive not from positive acts of instruction . the government is acting in my name) and more to do with the collective representation of the body of citizens. but from the possibility of their objecting to what is being done on their behalf’ (2007: 96–7). as Runciman argues. the assertion that citizens who object to their government’s policies are not represented by it requires a further definition of what counts as an ‘explicit enough’ objection to break the bond of representation between a citizen and her government.sagepub.com by guest on January 30. 3. In the next section. Putting aside the question of what actions will suffice to express such disapproval. ED as a political associative obligation In the previous section. they do not depend on the voluntary nature of the association and they cannot be rescinded simply by an act of will) (Horton. These obligations are special (in the sense that they do not extend to persons outside the group) and they are not necessarily voluntary (that is. But that government cannot argue that it represents each and every individual citizen. we saw that the democratic authorization argument cannot provide a comprehensive defense of an ED of the costs of political injustices.24 Naturally. in the sense that it does not apply to those citizens who protest enough against the government’s policy.

which consists of two components. Acting jointly means that the members of the group have a shared common goal and an intention to contribute to that goal. which the AOs are partly constitutive of. then. Solidary action can happen only in relation to the actions of group members that are ‘public’ in the sense described here. In other words. To put it differently. this togetherness carries a specific sense. under some circumstances. people who act in solidarity view themselves as acting together in the sense that they forego their varying levels of contributions to the joint action and instead act as if they are all equal contributors. 2001: 48–65. 5).com by guest on January 30. such as found within families and friendships (Raz.196 Politics. Tamir. is a rather common perception of joint human activities. I will first explain what this value means in general and then examine its application to the case of democracies. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) as the obligation to obey the law or to care for one’s fellow citizens.1. The value of solidary action is derived from the togetherness of these activities. Scheffler. should be understood as AOs (Dworkin.28 Notice. First. and is therefore a political AO of citizens in democracies. An oft-cited example is that of friendship: one of the intrinsic values of friendship is that it generates mutual concern between friends. regardless of their personal contributions to it.sagepub. in order to act in solidarity. the following mundane scenario: a small group of people is pushing a stuck car out of the mud. 1989). and that they are aware of and responsive to each other’s intentions. and it characterizes many of our relationships. Very briefly. a normative argument for an ED of consequential responsibility in democracies. I believe. The social good of solidary action The good which I refer to as ‘solidary action’ is generated by the forming together of worthy shared goals and by the executing together of these shared goals. but applied to the case of the ED of consequential responsibility in democracies: I argue that such an ED is partly constitutive of an intrinsic value which characterizes membership of a democratic state. Consider. under some circumstances. The AOs that exist between friends (for example. 1986: 195–216. a group of people must be acting jointly (or collectively) toward the attainment of their common goal. one of them will be the obligation to share equally the costs of the consequential responsibility for political injustices. This interpretation of political obligations has been subject to critique. that not every action of a group member will fall under the category of joint action: group members may be acting ‘privately’ by doing things that have no relation to the group’s common goal and of which other members are not aware. 1993: Ch. Here. 3. but in what follows I will not attempt to defend it.27 My goal here is more modest: I argue that the idea of political AOs can provide. for example. AOs exist within relationships whose very nature entails having obligations between those within such relationships. This. I argue that if political AOs exist in democratic political communities. The second component of ‘solidary action’ that is pertinent for the discussion here is that people who act in solidarity perceive themselves as equal participants in their joint activity. The source of such obligations is some intrinsic value of these relationships. 2013 . then. Their joint efforts Downloaded from ppe. this obligation potentially applies to the protesting citizen as well. to assist a friend in need) are expressions of this mutual concern. I call this value ‘solidary action’. In what follows I propose a construction similar to this example.

an essential element of their sheer enjoyment in their success as a team is precisely that they are equal participants. 1991: 61–3). part of the range of human interactions that are constitutive of our social nature. I would argue that. whether in success or failure. as these important sentiments thrive only when the partners are willing to share equally the burden of their joint decisions. This specific sense of relating to others is. Consider the example of domestic partnership. 2013 . then in those relationships the equal sharing of the consequential responsibility for the group’s joint actions is in fact an associative obligation of its participants. each having an equal share in their success. nor does any of them feel she deserves a greater (or smaller) portion of the driver’s thanks. I think. We can imagine them exchanging satisfied looks with each other. That is. because they share a common fate for their actions. this willingness to view oneself as an equal participant in the relationship is necessary in order for the trust and intimacy that characterize domestic partnerships to grow. or common achievement. Solidary action provides precisely such a normative argument.29 As the above example suggests. solidary action is valuable because there are many worthy social projects that would not be realized unless their participants were inclined to perform them in solidarity (compare Feinberg.com by guest on January 30. Second.sagepub. For if indeed solidary action is an intrinsically valuable social good that characterizes certain relationships. the question is whether there is a normative argument to support the ED of consequential responsibility among members of groups that have committed a collective injustice. solidary action is an intrinsically valuable social good. I suggest that a characteristic of this sense of togetherness. Equal sharing is an AO because it is constitutive of the social good of solidary action: group members who are acting in solidarity perceive themselves as equal participants in their joint activity that have equal shares in its Downloaded from ppe. Despite being covered in mud. but also from the very fact that they perform it together in the sense I described above. There are at least two good reasons for valuing solidary action. What passes between them at this moment is a simple recognition: ‘We did it!’ They sense that they achieved their goal together. First. and they take pleasure in that simple fact. Rather. the wheels of the car are released and the car is free to go. we may assume. To recall. people who act in solidarity get the opportunity to relate to each other in a specific sense. the thriving of the relationship we usually associate with domestic partnerships is at least partly dependent on its participants’ sense of solidary action. domestic partners should normally be acting in solidarity with each other with regards to the shared parts of their lives. domestic partners should view themselves as having equal shares in their joint activities. is that the individuals in this example view themselves as equal participants in their joint effort: they are not concerned with how much each contributed to this joint effort. To put it differently. the participating individuals experience a sense of elation when their efforts bring about the desired result. By that I mean that people who are acting in solidarity toward a common goal have good reasons to feel enjoyment and satisfaction not just from the achievement of the goal itself. This type of relationship is commonly understood to be based on high levels of trust and intimacy between its participants. at least according to the common understanding of domestic partnership.31 We can now go back to the question of the distribution of the costs of consequential responsibility in groups.Pasternak 197 finally succeed. an essential human experience. Arguably.

and for that reason the relationship would simply not be valuable enough to generate Downloaded from ppe. In such groups. while a group of people helping to push a car out of a mud is presumably a worthy transient group. The members of a transient group can certainly experience a sense of solidary action which could justify the equal sharing of the group’s consequential responsibility. In other words. 2013 . the implication would be that. Since solidary action is an intrinsically valuable activity. its members view the range of their joint activities as an expression of their acting in solidarity. It is worth noting that there will be types of groups in which solidary action cannot justify the equal distribution of unjust group actions.198 Politics. This is so because the value of acting in solidarity over time can only be realized if group members are willing. the transient nature of the group renders it more likely that the group will not constitute a significantly valuable relationship between its members. when successful. and that the component of endurance over time is attached to the goods that the group produces for its members.33 This justification applies in principle to both the group’s just and unjust actions. there are ethical reasons to comply with the obligations that are partly constitutive of it. to share the costs of group actions over time. it endures over time. To put it differently. their relationship cannot generate genuine obligations. there are cases of ‘transient groups’ which are temporary by their nature. A looting mob. at least as a general rule. and therefore generates no AOs. first. Transient groups are usually created around a single event and dissolve in its aftermath. An ED of the collective burden of a group’s joint actions is then part of what defines the good of solidary action (in the same way that caring for a friend’s well-being is part of what defines mutual concern between friends). like all AOs. as a general rule. a joint activity that is aimed at achieving inherently bad projects has no intrinsic value. so long as the group is a worthy project overall. even if their members sense that they act in solidarity. they recognize themselves as bearing equal consequential responsibility for the outcome of that activity. an SS unit). Philosophy & Economics 10(2) outcome. By ‘enduring’ I mean that the group has a history and a future. The source of AOs is the value of the social good they support. enduring groups which are by any reasonable standard not worthy overall (for example. Members of enduring groups which are characterized by the value of solidary action will be under the obligation to share the costs of the group’s collective actions on an equal basis.34 Second.com by guest on January 30. members perceive themselves as participants in an ongoing joint project that lasts over time and of which they will continue to be part in the future. However. One of the essential characteristics of this relationship is that.sagepub. for example. An example of such a group. Transient groups may revolve around worthy or unworthy joint projects. even if the group’s overall activity has some unjust components. is that of domestic partnership.32 I have argued that solidary action justifies the equal sharing of the consequential responsibility for a group’s joint actions. is an unworthy transient group. When the value of solidary action characterizes an enduring group which is a worthy project overall. even in those particular instances in which the joint activity is unjust or leads to an unjust outcome. In enduring groups. the duty to share consequential responsibility on an equal basis cannot be generated by relationships that are inherently bad or unjust. After all. What I have in mind are. which has already mentioned. in transient groups members are likely to be related to each other in a very weak sense. specifically in cases in which the group is worthy overall and has an enduring nature.

to which citizens regularly contribute in various ways (political participation. To recall. I would argue that democratic citizens tend to view their individual and varied contributions to the formation and execution of formal governmental policies as equal elements of the overall outcome. obedience to the law. enduring groups which revolve around worthy projects provide the clearest cases in which solidary action generates the AO to share the costs of the group’s actions on an equal basis. Citizens are usually aware of the fact that they share the common goal of self-rule. and they are responsive to each other’s intentions (there are exceptions to this claim. even if we personally ‘offset’ our contributions to the Downloaded from ppe. tax payments. and worthy collective project. for example. can generate genuine AOs for their citizens. group members are likely to see their membership in the group as more significant. or at least discomfort. namely. and often is. I would argue that. This social good grounds certain AOs for citizens in democracies. it is supported by the presence of common sentiments. I suggest that solidary action can also be. 3. first. and so on).2. the powerful sense citizens often have that ‘this is their government’. they view themselves as equal participants in their joint project.35 In enduring groups.com by guest on January 30. which will be discussed later on). the obligation to obey the law) (Mason 1997: 440). I suggested that solidary action can ground an ED of consequential responsibility for injustices in enduring groups (namely. which is a worthy enduring group. Solidary action in democracies The previous section discussed the notion of solidary action in general. It is now time to examine its relevance to the particular question of consequential responsibility in democracies. the starting point of my argument is that political communities in general. This goal is exercised through the formal institutions of the state. For example. we tend to feel when our governments act badly. under normal circumstances. I mentioned before the two components of solidary action: first. groups that last over time). consider the sense of shame. the formal acts of government in democracies fit this description. The exact content of citizens’ political AOs will be determined by whatever intrinsic values their particular political community has. it has been argued that an intrinsic value of democracies for their citizens is that they enjoy the status of free and equal members of the collective body that has significant control over their lives. long-lasting. the formal acts of government are commonly understood to be the joint actions of a country’s citizens. While I will not be able to provide empirical evidence for this claim here. an intrinsic value of democracies and that as such it generates the AO to share the costs of national collective injustices on an equal basis. and democracies in particular. inter alia because of its longlasting nature. Consider. As mentioned at the beginning of this section. AOs that are partly constitutive of that good (for example. second. In this subsection. Moreover.37 Next. thus complying with the second component of solidary action. 2013 . Next.sagepub. people who act in solidarity are acting jointly to achieve a worthy social goal and.Pasternak 199 meaningful AOs. on the other hand. For that reason. so that they are the solidary actions of the citizenry. because the citizens usually share the common goal of living in a self-ruling political community – a goal which is an enduring. even when they did not personally authorize it and even if they protest against its policies. exercised through the formal institutions of their state. Thus.

the AO to share equally the costs of the consequential responsibility of the state’s formal actions. for two reasons. generate. Objections and limitations I argued in the previous subsection that the notion of solidary action can explain why democratic citizenship carries with it the obligation to share the costs of political injustices equally. in political decision-making. For that reason. After all. acting in solidarity with one’s fellow citizens via the formal acts of one’s government is a valuable activity in and of itself. then citizenship in a democratic political community brings with it. which revolves around the value of solidary action to citizens. political solidary action. The sacrifice these soldiers may have to make can be very high and they are more likely to be willing to make it if they are certain that the rest of the citizenry will share the burden of the actions that they are performing for the collective. sharing the costs of the political community’s joint activities on an equal basis is part of the burdens of citizenship. and in some instances that may turn out to be a significant part of the population.200 Politics. is potentially applicable even to those who protest against the government. the reasons to value Downloaded from ppe.sagepub. Sharing the costs of national consequential responsibility on an equal basis is partly constitutive of the citizens’ sense that they are acting in solidarity with each other. together with other political AOs. even if they are unjust. citizens’ willingness to participate in and to contribute to their political lives together is quite probably enhanced by the fact that they feel that over time they are acting in solidarity with fellow citizens. and important sense. namely. regardless of whether one is also disagreeing with specific policies of the government. it enhances the ability of the democratic state to function and thus to continue to produce the other social goods that democratic states. it enables citizens to connect to each other in a specific. To the extent that political solidary action reinforces the ties between citizens in this way. To recall. It is worth pointing out the difference between this argument and the democratic authorization argument which was discussed earlier. deep. As I suggested. According to this line of defense of an ED. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) objectionable policy. the democratic authorization argument justified ED on the basis of citizens’ participation. Consider. the case of soldiers who are asked to fight a war for their country.38 Second. too. To the extent that citizens value solidary action. First. These sentiments reflect an important perception which citizens normally have of their political membership: that each of us is tied to the political community’s shared political goals and institutions in a way that does not depend on our personal contributions. To recall. or ability to participate. because it protects something that is valuable in that citizenship. We thus come to the conclusion that if solidary action is indeed an intrinsic value which characterizes democratic citizenship. My alternative defense of ED. 2013 .3. this perception is valuable. they have an ethical reason to comply with the obligation that is constitutive of it. for example. I argued earlier that enduring relationships which are characterized by the good of solidary action generate the AO to share the costs of the group’s joint activities on an equal basis.com by guest on January 30. the drawback of this argument is that it does not apply to citizens who have expressed dissent from governmental policies to a sufficient degree. as enduring social projects. As suggested earlier. political solidary action is valuable for democratic citizens.39 3.

and that a specific democratic political culture may simply not include the value of political solidary action or not recognize it as significant enough to generate political AOs. Downloaded from ppe. while the solidary action argument can apply even to protesting citizens who have not authorized the government. as a distinct and valuable social good. while I suggested before that there are reasons to think that. A defense of an ED of the consequential responsibility for political injustices that rests on the value of political solidary action must therefore assume that the social practices and conventions in the democracy in question recognize the value of political solidary action and define democratic citizenship in a way that incorporates this value. While these objections highlight the limitations of the argument. but not mutual economic dependency. but not to support each other financially. So. as a matter of fact.sagepub. 2007: 12).40 Solidary action can serve as a defense of an ED only in democracies which exhibit practices and conventions (as expressed in their political culture and in their actual treatment of their own citizens) that include that value. The first objection concerns the extent to which actual practices and conventions in democracies fit the picture of democratic citizenship I have portrayed here. and one important example is the case of deeply divided democracies whose citizens are in the process of losing or no longer have a shared political vision. friends have the AO to care for each other. it is nevertheless true that this social good is not necessarily attached to the democratic ethos. generally speaking. which will help to clarify its scope. I will mention two objections to the argument. 2013 . 1986: 197. After all. After all. To give an example. as proponents of the idea of AOs point out.Pasternak 201 such political solidary action are the fact that it allows for the development of deeper attachments between citizens and that it fortifies citizens’ willingness to perform the tasks which are necessary for the maintenance of the state. Horton. citizens will either no longer be acting jointly to maintain the political institutions of their country (in the sense that they will be working toward conflicting political visions) or they will derive no value from seeing themselves as equal participants in the shared project of a united political community. who would therefore be obliged to comply with the AO that accompanies that social good. friendship is understood in modern western cultures to be a relationship that entails mutual concern between friends. they do not undermine its value in specific instances. will not be manifested in their country’s political culture and will not serve as a defense of an ED of political injustices.com by guest on January 30. There are many reasons why this may happen. These reasons should be attractive to the protesting citizen as well. In the reminder of this section. This requirement raises the objection that solidary action is not actually recognized as intrinsically valuable. solidary action. the content of the AOs that are generated within specific relationships is dictated by the existing practices and conventions that define those relationships (Dworkin. at least in some democratic cultures. citizens in democracies do value political solidary action. The second objection concerns the extent to which individual citizens who do not recognize the value of solidary action are under an obligation to comply with the AO that accompanies that value. In such scenarios. The first objection to the solidary action argument questions the extent to which existing practices and conventions of democratic political communities recognize its value. it does not necessarily apply to all citizens and under all circumstances. As a result. Nevertheless.

rather than her own unique interpretation (although she may well participate in the process of defining that general practice). once a citizen acknowledges the powerful value of her membership of the political community. Notice. however. rules . As to the first of these groups. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) The second objection to the solidary action defense of an ED concerns the extent to which particular individual citizens within the state recognize the value of political solidary action. there may be individual citizens who dissent from this common view. But as long as these citizens remain a small enough minority. 2000: 23. If. The concern here is that even if the general practices and conventions of a political community endorse the social good of political solidary action.com by guest on January 30. In the case of political associative obligations that means the ‘social convention.. namely. those who genuinely reject the claim that their political membership is of some value. the number of citizens who do not acknowledge this value grows. if not marginal. Here we should distinguish between citizens who see no value in their nonvoluntary membership in the political community. some citizens will disregard the value of solidary action. and citizens who recognize the value of the political community. Nevertheless. For as theorists of associative obligations often stress. What about citizens who acknowledge that their membership of the political community generates obligations for themselves. they will be under an obligation to comply with the duties that are generated by the political vision of their fellow citizens. But as long as a sufficient portion of the citizens define the content of their associative obligations in a way that includes the ED of the state’s consequential responsibility.41 The second objection is therefore correct in that.sagepub. attitudes or point of view of the member’ (Horton. this obligation will be part of the general set that the citizens in this particular community have.. but reject the claim that political solidary action in itself is of value? Here the answer is different. their specific content within a given relationship will be determined by their ‘objective side’. This does not mean that the general understanding of the civic duties in a political community should not be subject to critique and to changes. In other words. like all other arguments that concern political obligations. on the other hand. the claim that citizens have political associative obligations must concede that there may be some individuals within the political community to whom the argument does not apply. Mason. but do not accept its particular interpretation of civic obligations which includes the idea of ED. as John Horton puts it. that this group of dissenters is likely to be extremely small. In such scenarios. Downloaded from ppe. even if some personally fail to recognize this particular value. the specific set of obligations which she would have as a result of her membership is what the general practice in the political community dictates. including the obligation to accept an equal distribution of the costs of political injustices. quite likely. the defense of ED that is grounded in the value of solidary action would not apply to this particular group. alternative arguments such as democratic authorization or mere considerations of practicality may be better suited to justify an ED of the burdens of political injustices. then its force as a source of civic obligation will be contested and wane. 2007: 13. 1986: 203-5.202 Politics. 2013 . Compare Dworkin. Scheffler. 2001:104). emotions. practice. it seems that. in well-functioning democracies. and for that reason reject the claim that it generates genuine obligations. which are independent of the sentiments.

Notes I wish to thank Joshua Cohen. it is worth bearing in mind that an ED of the costs of political injustices is a common practice which. and distributes the costs on some equal basis.com by guest on January 30. were Israel to discharge its duties of compensation to the Palestinian people. similar in this respect to the obligation to obey the law or to care for one’s fellow citizens. I have suggested that when the state discharges this duty. and that this fact calls for thinking about the proper rules for the distribution of the state’s consequential responsibility for political injustices between its citizens. cabinet members who facilitated the occupation throughout the years.42 As we have seen. David Runciman. Conclusions This article has attempted to ‘penetrate the veil’ of a democratic state that is charged with the duty to bear the costs of an unjust policy it adopted. While ED may be justified on practical grounds. Yet there will be specific cases in which the practices and conventions of the democracy in question cherish solidary action as an intrinsically valuable social activity. or a proportional distribution which would single out those more culpable in the injustice of the occupation (for example. which point to the potentially high cost of a proper PD. Debra Satz. Paul Gowder. and an anonymous referee of Politics. Rather. it is grounded in the idea that sharing the costs of public policies on an equal basis is of value in and of itself because it allows citizens to relate to each other in a deeper and significant way. which would complement their self-understanding as equal contributors and equal bearers of their shared and enduring political project. Two models for such a distribution were discussed here.sagepub. At least in those cases compliance with an ED of the outcomes of the joint activities of citizens will be a civic associative obligation. the article has focused on normative considerations which explain why this model is often preferred by theorists and policymakers. Nevertheless. Going back to the example that opened this article. Lea Ypi. One of these distributes the costs of the collective injustice on a proportional basis. Assaf Sharon. or both. Philosophy and Economics for their comments and suggestions. the actual costs will fall on flesh-and-blood citizens. Earlier versions of this Downloaded from ppe. Helena DeBres. Patrick Tomlin. the defense that is grounded in democratic authorization and the defense that is grounded in solidary action apply to a limited set of cases or to a limited portion of the population. Zofia Stemplowska. The normative defense I developed does not rely on the act of authorizing the government through potential participation in the electoral system. taking into account citizens’ personal association with the harm. Rob Reich. and so on) and assign a greater portion of the burden to them. The discussion here does not offer a conclusive normative recommendation for ED in this and in similar scenarios. David Miller. Ben Saunders. 2013 . It is certainly possible that practical considerations.Pasternak 203 4. The other views all citizens as equal in their relation to the harm. Helen Stacy. is largely supported by common sentiments. John Horton. I would venture. Joanna Firth. the ideological leaders of the settlers’ movement. its citizens would have to choose between the following two options: an equal distribution of the burden. settlers who took part in the occupation while being fully aware of the implications of their actions. Natan Sachs. Seth Lazar. are the main reasons why citizens and policymakers prefer an ED of the burden of unjust policies. Brad Mchose.

that is not necessarily the case. Such calculations must take into account the usual rules that govern the attribution of moral responsibility (causation. I am grateful for the support and the excellent research environment that these centers provided. which are less relevant for the current discussion. and the University of Stirling Philosophy Workshop. See. although I am using it in a somewhat different sense. mental state. However. Hart (1970: 211–30). 3. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) article were presented at the Political Theory Forum of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 2. 5. The claim that ‘Israel’ is morally responsible for its policy needs to be supported by an account of the moral agency of groups. 4.sagepub. 7. and perhaps a special rule which will accommodate this intuition. It therefore merits a separate discussion. I imagine that at the very least it would include resources for the construction of a decent Palestinian political society as well as monetary compensation for loss of life and property. 10. there are nevertheless good reasons to examine it separately from the distribution of other social burdens. What precisely ‘compensation’ to the Palestinians would entail is not a central point of this article. in the state? Although the question of the distribution of consequential responsibility is indeed a question of distributive justice. rather than caused. which due to limitations of space I cannot fully reflect upon. 8. For example. See Ronald Dworkin (2000: 287). One possible critique. the Stanford Global Justice Workshop. in particular. 1970: 215–26). I use the notions ‘political injustice’ and ‘unjust policy’ interchangeably. I am agnostic here about the question of whether groups. These three forms of responsibility are connected in various ways. as I will later on suggest. 2013 . The term is borrowed from Ronald Dworkin. 1. and control over actions). in terms of the question Is pose here. Briefly.204 Politics. causal responsibility is a necessary condition of moral responsibility: an agent is not morally responsible for an outcome to which she is not causally related (see Hart. 9. Notice that our intuitions about fairness and personal responsibility serve to justify specifically the PD that takes into account citizens’ morally blameworthy contributions. Most of my work on this article was conducted while I was a post-doctoral fellow at the Program on Global Justice and the Center on Ethics at Stanford University.com by guest on January 30. This definition of moral responsibility follows Strawson (1982). Whether other forms of PD (for example. are moral agents. is that citizens’ share of the burden of consequential responsibility for governmental injustices simply part of their more general set of civic burdens and subject to the general rules of the distribution of burdens. However. for example. ‘Responsibility’ has other important meanings. agents can sometimes be held consequentially responsible for an injustice from which they benefited. causal responsibility is not a necessary condition of consequential responsibility. the Nuffield Political Theory Workshop. as we tend to think that the agent who is to be blamed for a bad outcome is the agent who should pay for that bad outcome. Most importantly. 11. Moral responsibility often grounds the consequential responsibility of an agent. one that concerns the level of benefit from the harm) are Downloaded from ppe. the distribution of consequential responsibility for governmental injustices relates directly to the basic moral intuition that perpetrators of injustices should be held responsible for their actions. Perhaps the best testimony for this is that so many authors assign consequential responsibility to states without conceding to the corporatist understanding of the separate agency of the state. and states. Indeed. 6. in general. it is possible to hold citizens in democracies consequentially responsible for their government’s policies regardless of their own share of moral responsibility for these policies.

because at other times they enjoy the benefits Downloaded from ppe. See Pogge (2002: 50) and May (1987: 104). May (1987: 104) (whose arguments are concerned with corporations rather than states). and this fact could imply that settlers would bear more costs than other Israeli citizens. The Palestinians would be entitled to more than monetary compensation (for example. Miller also mentions that members of cooperative groups enjoy a fair distribution of the benefits of cooperation. 17. which is more relevant to the discussion at hand. Notice that even if a PD is most likely unattainable in its pure form. 2013 . mainly because it is very hard to justify on normative grounds. For a similar line. In other words. 22. For a related critique. one which relies on the principle of fair play rather than on democratic authorization.com by guest on January 30. it should not be withdrawn from the range of possible distributions of the consequential responsibility for political injustices. 14. an ED may also have negative side effects. the settlers that were evacuated in the 2005 Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip were promised compensation by the Israeli government. 21. Indeed. A third model of distribution would allocate the costs of an unjust policy on a random basis: some citizens end up carrying a greater share of the burden simply due to bad luck and no attempt is made to transfer some of the burden to other citizens on a proportional or equal basis (comprehensive economic sanctions can have this effect on the population of the sanctioned country). see Arendt (1987: 43–50) and Jaspers (2000: 55–7). it could still be possible to develop a model of distribution that would be at least partly proportional. compatible with those intuitions or can be justified at all on normative grounds are separate questions which cannot be explored within the scope of this article. the return of their lands).sagepub. 19. see Goodin (1987). who calls for the extraction of monetary penalties from those heads of corporations who cause harm to third parties. 15. who argues that the scope of our duty to reform unjust institutions is determined in light of the extent to which we participate in those institutions and contribute to the injustices they commit. Other advocates of a PD of collective consequential responsibility are Thomas Pogge.Pasternak 205 12. members of a cooperative group should accept the loses that are generated by bad collective decisions. 13. Due to limitations of space I am focusing here on the cooperative component of his argument. those of leading policymakers and so on). Miller suggests that democracies have both the characteristics of cooperative groups and of ‘like-minded groups’. 20. ED is a principle of non-proportional and nonrandom distribution. I do not discuss this model here. See Miller (2007: 116). These distinctions may suggest that an ED should take into account the benefits that individual citizens derived from the collective harm. 16. Accordingly. An ED of the burden would therefore require that the Israeli settlers themselves are compensated for their losses by other Israelis. because they would have to evacuate their homes. While we may agree that the complex nature of political injustice does not usually allow us to identify accurately the exact relative contributions of citizens. This seems to be a potentially different argument for an ED of consequential responsibility. On the other hand. Compare Kelly (2003: 119). 18. taking into account the more obvious relative contributions of some participating members (for example. For example. and Sunstein and Posner (2007: 22). it may motivate individuals to continue their contributions to unjust policies if they know they will not be singled out and sanctioned for their participation. Choosing between the different interpretations of this principle requires further normative distinctions about the nature of truly equal distribution or equal shares. and Larry May.

27. A view that argues that a citizen is personally represented by her elected official no matter what that official does goes against the core idea that political representatives represent. there is room for thinking about the rules of its distribution even if we accept the corporate view of the state. I would argue that any plausible interpretation of the idea of political representation must give some room for the views of the represented agent on the policies that are performed in her name.206 Politics. or a whole nation) whose members are not persuaded by the idea that they somehow constitute a separate group agent. Nevertheless. See Pitkin (1972: Ch. but instead argues that the most appropriate model of consequential responsibility in states should follow the pattern of corporate limited liability. since the burdens of consequential responsibility will eventually fall on citizens. We can envision a group of people (for example. For elaboration of its different components. 29. it will not necessarily be a straightforward task to define what is a joint rather than a private activity of group members. It is worth distinguishing here between what I call ‘solidarity action’ and the notion of group agency. 25. 1990: 329). For example. 4). There are disagreements in the literature as to the exact definition of joint action. In Downloaded from ppe. 26. Dworkin argues implicitly for an ED of consequential responsibility by suggesting that groups are consequentially responsible for their actions as separate agents and that their responsibility trickles down to their members by virtue of their membership. is that of an orchestra playing a piece of music. in response. There will always be a minority of adult citizens who are not eligible to or cannot vote (for example. but who nevertheless perceive their contributions to their joint projects as equal elements of the overall result. it is subject to the well-known objection that obligations of fair play are generated only in voluntary arrangements. Like Miller I do not examine to what extent my alternative defense of an ED applies to mentally impaired citizens.com by guest on January 30. 2013 . a group of scientists working on a shared project. at least to a minimal degree. See Runciman (2007: 108–12). While this is a plausible argument. The account used here largely follows Christopher Kutz. Notice that Runciman himself does not adopt a PD in democracies. 2007). 30. but they are irrelevant for the purposes of the discussion. which includes the nonobjection criteria. 2) for further discussion of the problems with such a limited view of representation. See Rawls (1999a: 459 n. 24. Notice that in the case of domestic partnership. However. we would normally think that they perceive themselves as equal participants and equal authors of the performance of the piece. generated by good decisions. 28. and presumably the democratic authorization argument does not include them. see Kutz (2000). and in other cases. as well as a good discussion of alternative accounts. This definition follows John Horton (2006: 429). I thank John Horton for pressing me to clarify this point. The argument I develop here does not require such controversial assumptions. John Horton offers persuasive replies to major critiques of the AOs argument in Horton (2006. 31.sagepub. One could raise the objection that the democratic authorization argument need not rest on Pitkin’s particular interpretation of political representation. Group agency is also sometimes used in the literature in order to justify an ED of collective consequential responsibility. a married couple. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) 23. Another example of solidary action. those in whose name they act. some far more prominent than others. which draws upon John Rawls. the mentally disabled). See Dworkin (1990: 336) This line of argument then assumes the ‘existence of the group as a separate entity or phenomenon’ (Dworkin. As I argued in Section 1. The players play different parts.

In those cases.com by guest on January 30. and perhaps of identifying oneself as a group member. those that are based on inherently repulsive or exploitative worldviews) are not worthy even if their members fail to recognize that fact. I thank Seth Lazar and Ben Saunders for pressing me to clarify this point. 2013 . according to which subjects of tyrannical and brutal regimes cannot be expected to share the costs of their rulers’ policies on an equal basis. that is. see MacIntyre (1995: 224) and Nozick (2006: 289). Compare Dworkin (1986: 198). Gilbert (1993). 33. May defines group action. solidary action must be reciprocal. following Jean-Paul Sarter. I should add that in order to generate genuine obligations. whether structured or unstructured. at least in corporations (see note 10 above). Other characterizations of the state as an expression of citizens’ shared intentions appear in Dworkin (2000: 227–8). 34. This account follows Mason (1997: 440). My own account of acting in solidarity is compatible with May’s in both respects: I agree that when people act in solidarity they share a common interest (to perform their joint activity) and identify with their group.. Downloaded from ppe. This observation opens up the question of how to define a worthy social goal. On the importance of this deeper connection.sagepub. A group member may therefore be mistaken in her belief that she is acting in solidarity with others if those others do not share a sense of equal participation with her. we can nevertheless maintain that some social projects (for example. 36. My account of solidary action shares some similarities with Larry May’s account of group action. a debt of one of the partners which was incurred before they met). But the existence of such borderline cases does not undermine the claim that there will be a set of activities which are clearly joint and of which domestic partners are shared authors. the answer to this question will depend on the prevalent social understanding of this type of partnership. For example. and Rawls (1993: 204. shared by all members of the group in question. isolated individual identities’. While we should keep a tolerant view of worthy social goals. In my view. but also has some important differences. I add to these two components a third one which May does not mention. This observation is congruent with the intuition I mentioned in Section 1. Undoubtedly. Members of other types of political communities may also be acting in solidarity in the sense I have described. Such political projects. this is a crucial part of the meaning of acting in solidarity. The argument leads to the conclusion that the value of acting in solidarity can be manifested not only in democracies. May would perhaps disagree. solidary action would generate meaningful obligations. the project of raising children is commonly thought of as a joint project of the domestic partners. see Dworkin (1986: 202–6). as well as on the specific interpretation of particular couples. Generally speaking. 35. This concerns the willingness to see oneself as an equal participant. Hardimon (1994: 344). but subject to some qualifications of reasonableness. by ‘worthy’ I mean social goals which are worthy in the eyes of participating group members. Although.. See May (1987: 35). 39. 38. as revolving around the notion of solidarity. 37. However. 1999a: 460–2). which. as he is a proponent of the PD rather than the ED of groups’ consequential responsibility. the domestic partnership example. For further discussion on this issue.Pasternak 207 32. there will be cases in which it will be difficult for the partners to decide whether a certain activity is ‘joint’ or ‘private’ and whether they should see themselves as having equal shares in it (for example. I do not wish to deny that there can be transient groups in which the relationship between members is more intense. May associates with ‘a sufficiently strong common interest’ and a sense of identification with the group ‘rather than . and Mason (1997: 437–8).

I thank an anonymous referee for raising this question. Malden. Israeli citizens of Palestinian descent) do not value their participation in the political project of a Jewish state. MA: Nijhoff. 2013 . In the latter case. 280–97. When individuals participate in a social group they are taking part in a joint project that is reciprocal. 41. Ethics and International Affairs 15(1): 67–86. Dworkin R (1986) Law’s Empire. 42. Oxford: Hart. Downloaded from ppe. at least in the sense that its meaning is not determined individualistically. In: Barry C. in the sense that the citizen is required to conform with the group’s own interpretation of the AOs that are generated by it. London: Fontana. then the group’s own perception of its value has no hold over her.208 Politics. Barry C (2005) Applying the contribution principle. if she does not find any value in such social participation). Pogge T (eds) Global Institutions and Responsibilities: Achieving Global Justice. but rather through a shared process in which all group members take part. democracy. Indeed. According to my argument. it seems that. Dworkin R (1990) Equality. and constitution: We the people of the court. Cane P (2002) Responsibility in Law and Morality. are not worthy even if their members fail to recognize that fact. References Arendt H (1987) Collective responsibility. 40. why cannot the group also establish the value of membership for its members? The answer to this question concerns the very nature of participation in a social group. Boston. but reject the specific interpretation of its nature. it can be argued that a comprehensive ED of the burden of political injustice between all Israeli citizens cannot be defended on normative grounds because a large proportion of Israel’s population (namely. She will take part in this process.com by guest on January 30. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) which are inherently repulsive or exploitative. MA: Harvard University Press. they are reluctant to do so precisely because they do not value acting in solidarity with their fellow citizens. if the citizen refuses to take part in the group project in the first place (that is. Erskine T (2001) Assigning responsibilities to institutional moral agents: The case of states and quasi states. Cambridge. Corlett AJ (2001) Collective moral responsibility. Dworkin R (2000) Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality. The fact that the group declares it has value cannot in and of itself make it valuable to individuals. but will not be the sole decider. Alberta Law Review 28(2): 324–46. in deeply divided democracies citizens are less willing to accept an equal distribution of the costs of political injustices. the citizen’s skeptical objections of the meaning of the relationship are rejected. However. In: Bernauer JW (ed. But if the content of AOs is defined by the group. 43–50. This understanding is part of what being in a relationship means. Rather. the individuals must be willing at some level to take part in that joint social project. Indeed. The associative obligations argument gives an asymmetrical response to citizens who do not see any value in the political relationship and to citizens who acknowledge its value. Journal of Social Philosophy 32(4): 573–84. In the former case.) Amor Mundi: Explorations in the Faith and Thought of Hannah Arendt.sagepub. as a matter of fact. A citizen who takes part in a political project which she values must accept that the very nature of that project and of the obligations it generates will be defined socially. MA and Oxford: Blackwell. the citizen’s rejection of the relationship nullifies any obligations that relationship would potentially generate.

Oxford: Oxford University Press. New York: Columbia University Press. Political Studies 55(1): 1–19. MA: Harvard University Press. Mason A (2000) Community. Journal of Political Philosophy 9: 453–71. Horton J (2006) In defence of associative political obligations: Part 1. Journal of Philosophy 15(1): 93–114. Monist 76(11): 119–31.) Free Will. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2nd edn. Ethics 117(2): 171–201. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2013 . New York: Fordham University Press. Miller D (2007) National Responsibility and Global Justice. New York: Oxford University Press. Pitkin H (1972) The Concept of Representation. Scheffler S (2001) Boundaries and Allegiances: Problems of Justice and Responsibility in Liberal Thought.) Theorizing Citizenship. Cambridge. Political Studies 54(3): 427–443. Hart HLA (1970) Punishment and Responsibility: Essays in the Philosophy of Law. Goodin R (1987) Apportioning responsibility. Lewis HD (1991) Collective responsibility (a critique). Kutz C (2000) Acting together. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61(1): 1–31. Notre Dame. Strawson P (1982) Freedom and resentment. and Corporate Rights. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 72–93. New York: Columbia University Press. MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Pogge T (2002) World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms. Journal of Philosophy 91(7): 333–63. Rawls J (1999b) The Law of Peoples. Runciman D (2007) The paradox of political representation. 53–76. In: May L. Shue H (1999) Global environment and international inequality. Satz D (2005) What do we owe the global poor? Ethics and International Affairs 19(1): 47–54. Lanham. MA: Belknap Press. MacIntyre A (1995) Is patriotism a virtue? In: Beiner R (ed. Hoffman S (eds) Collective Responsibility: Five Decades of Debate in Theoretical and Applied Ethics. Gilbert M (1993) Group membership and political obligation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Scheid D (eds) Ethics and Foreign Intervention. Nozick R (2006) The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations. Miller D (2001) Distributing responsibilities. Cambridge: Polity Press. In: Watson G (ed. In: May L. May L (1987) The Morality of Groups: Collective Responsibility. Rawls J (1993) Political Liberalism. Kelly E (2003) The burdens of collective liability. Law and Philosophy 8(1): 3–21. Law and Philosophy 6(2): 167–85. Group-Based Harm. Jaspers K (2000) The Question of German Guilt. Hardimon M (1994) Role obligations. Raz J (1989) Liberating duties. Lanham. 209–28. New York: Simon and Schuster.com by guest on January 30. 17–34. Cambridge. Rawls J (1999a) A Theory of Justice. 118–39. In: Chatterjee D. Horton J (2007) In defence of associative political obligations: Part 2. Albany: State University of New York. International Affairs 75: 531–45. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. French P (1984) Collective and Corporate Responsibility. Solidarity and Belonging: Levels of Community and their Normative Significance. Mason A (1997) Special obligations to compatriots.Pasternak 209 Feinberg J (1991) Collective responsibility (another defense).sagepub. Pettit P (2007) Responsibility incorporated. Ethics 107(3): 427–47. MD: Rowman and Littlefield. IN: University of Notre Dame Press. Hoffman S (eds) Collective Responsibility: Five Decades of Debate in Theoretical and Applied Ethics. Downloaded from ppe.

2013 .com by guest on January 30. 2nd edn. She has a DPhil in Politics from Nuffield College. John M. Walzer M (1992) Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. New York: Basic Books. Princeton. Tamir Y (1993) Liberal Nationalism. Philosophy & Economics 10(2) Sunstein C and Posner E (2007) Climate change justice. NJ: Princeton University Press. Olin Program in Law and Economics Working Paper Series.sagepub. Young IM (2004) Responsibility and global labor justice. University College London. Oxford University.210 Politics. Chicago. About the author Avia Pasternak is British Academy postdoctoral fellow at the School of Public Policy. Journal of Political Philosophy 12(4): 365–88. IL: University of Chicago Law School. Downloaded from ppe.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful