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January1994

notbe richiftheywerenotable tointeracteconomicallywithotherAmericans, and that mutual dependence leads to mutual obligation.But in economics, mutualdependence does not stop at nationalboundaries.The issue of migra-

tion forcesus to ask whetherRawlsian theoriesofjustice need to assume the

existenceof a

communityof people withmoral obligationsto one another.

One way to avoid these difficultiesis to be egalitarianat the worldlevel:

thisachieves moralconsistencyat the cost of politicalirrelevance.Anotheris to take the libertarianrouteand to recognizeonlythoseobligationsthatindi- viduals voluntarilyacquire. Such libertarianismmightperhaps view freemi- grationwithequanimity,since immigrantsto richcountriesneed impose no burdenson existingresidents.But ifone is seekinga genuinejustificationfor immigrationcontrols,the mostobvious place to begin is surelywithan ethic of nationalism. It is revealing that the editors have not allowed nationalismto count as an ethical perspective.The contributors,too, seem determinedto avoid discussingnationalism,exceptas a pathology.The closestwe gettoan endorse- mentof nationalistideas is when Joseph Carens suggeststhatJapan is justified

in excludingimmigrantsso as to preserveitsculturalhomogeneity.But then, in a distinctlyuneasy passage, Carens asserts that the old White Australia policy could not claim a similarjustification,since that policy "cannot be separated fromBritishimperialismand European racism"(p. 38). Even ifwe grant the contestableclaim that the whiteAustraliansfeltthemselvesto be culturallysuperior in a way thattheJapanese do not, it is not obvious why thisshould have disqualifiedthe Australiansfromseeking to preservetheir culture.There is no doubt thatnationalismis a dangerous topic. But, after reading thisbook, I wonderhow long itcan be keptoffthe agenda of liberal politicaltheory.

ROBERT SUGDEN

UniversityofEast Anglia

Kymlicka,Will. ContemporaryPoliticalPhilosophy:An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, 1990. Pp. 321. $42.00 (cloth); $14.00 (paper).

Despite itstitle,whichvirtuallypromisesa boringprimer,thisbook is terrific. Will Kymlickahas writtena masterlysurveyof politicaltheoryfromJohn Rawls to RobertNozick and beyond.The book is sufficientlyclear and direct and commonsensiblein itsapproach to be suitableas an introductionforthe uninitiated,but Kymlickapresses the argumentsto the point thattheyyield freshinsightsforthe mostsophisticatedstudentsin the field. The book is organized around a presentationof a liberalegalitarianposi- tion,in the mold of Rawlsand Ronald Dworkin,seen as correctingthedefects

ofutilitarianism.Furtherchapterstreatlibertarianism,Marxism,communitar-

ianism,and feminismforthemostparteitheras critiquesofliberalegalitarian- ism or as rivals to it. This way of organizing the materialgenerallyworks

well but creates an odd tone in the chapter on Marxism,whichconveysthe

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impressionthatKarl Marxistobe faultedforhavingfailedtodo hishomework insofaras Das Kapitalwould have been farbetterifMarx had read his Rawls. Kymlickais at his best in the chapterson communitarianismand feminism, where his discussions of criticismsof liberalismstemmingfrom these ap- proaches are penetratingand sympathetic,and his rejoinderson behalf of liberalismare careful,fair-minded,sharp,undogmatic,and engaged. Overall, thebook offersa thoughtfuland criticaldiscussionof liberalismbya commit- ted partisan. I have no quarrelwiththeidea ofplacingRawlsand Dworkinat thecenter of a discussionof contemporarypoliticalphilosophy.Rawls and Dworkinare indeed central figures.But Kymlickasets up his discussions with a device borrowed from Dworkin in a way that is perhaps unfortunate.Following Dworkin'ssuggestion,Kymlickaproposes thatanynormativepoliticalphiloso- phyworthyof considerationin modernsocietywillbe egalitarianin thebroad sense that it will require treatingpeople as equals. Kymlickaglosses thisin several alternate (nonequivalent) formulationsincludingthese: "Egalitarian theoriesrequirethatthegovernmenttreatitscitizenswithequal consideration; each citizenis entitledto equal concernand respect"(p. 4). Kymlickaproceeds to assess the rival approaches to justice that he discusses according to the egalitarianstandardjust described. The egalitarianstandardproposed is vague in the extreme,so it is hard to say decisivelywhat it mightrule out or rule in. Still,its vague meaning seems to accord betterwith liberal egalitarianismthan the other doctrines Kymlickaconsiders. Upholding this egalitarianstandardtiltsthe discussion againsta fullconsiderationon theirown termsofdoctrinessuch as utilitarian- ism,Lockean naturalrightslibertarianism,and contractarianism.(In fairness, itshould be noted thatKymlicka'sdiscussionis notconfinedto theapplication of thisexternalstandard,but also includes internalcriticismsof the various doctrineshe surveys.) The tiltis mostobviousin thecases oflibertarianismand contractarianism, which are not plausiblyconstruedas attemptsto interpretthe formulathat governmentowes all citizens"equal concern."But Kymlicka'suse ofthevague egalitarianstandardas the measure of theoriesofjustice also tendsto distort histreatmentofutilitarianismand ofthecomplexrelationsbetweenutilitarian moraltheoryand liberalpoliticalarrangements.Of course interpretingutili- tarianismas a formof egalitarianisminduces only a subtledistortion.Recall John Stuart Mill's insistencethat utilitarianismupholds that true equality whichis the fundamentalcriterionofjustice. But thereare sourcesof tension here whichMilloverlooks.In whatsense is a utilitariancommittedto a funda- mental norm of equality? Well, as Bentham says, "Everybodyto count for one, nobody formore than one," but thisjust means thateach pleasure and pain willbe counted at itsfullmeasure no matterwho experiencesit. Given thatcitizenshave unequal capacities forutility,in some sense utilitarianism is not fundamentallycommittedto a norm of equal treatmentfor all and should not be evaluated as though it were. Kymlickadistinguishestwointerpretationsof utilitarianism.One version is based on a commitmenttotreatingpeople as equals, buthe quicklydismisses thisbecause utilitarianprinciplesmanifestlyconstitutean implausibleattempt to fulfillvague egalitarianism.The second version,what I would say is the

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only plausible reading of the doctrine,takes the maximizationof utilityas morallyfoundational.But Kymlickaalso dismissesthisdoctrineon theground that"itis difficultto see how thiscan be viewedas a moralprinciple"(p. 34). MoralityforKymlickaisa matterofinterpersonalobligations,so theutilitarian dutyto maximizeutilityisjust bizarre,beyondthe pale. He asks rhetorically, to whom are the obligationsowed whichthe utilitarianposits?Discussingthe implicationsof utilitarianprinciplesforpopulation policy,he supposes that ifthereis no actual person who is wrongedifI failto have extrababies, it is absurd to suppose thattherecould be an obligationto createmorepeople so as to increase utilitytotals. At thispoint Kymlicka'sargumentgivesa superficialtreatmentof a deep problem. Consider Derek Parfit'sdiscussionof a youth'sdecision to have a child now who willbe severelyhandicapped fromconceptionratherthan to wait a few years and have a normal, healthychild (in Reasonsand Persons [Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, 1984], chap. 16). There is likelyto be a component of impersonalconsequentialistbenevolence in any adequate mo- ralityand a fortioriin anyadequate politicalmorality.Atleast,theissuecannot be dismissedso swiftlyas Kymlickasupposes. Leaving aside the issue of the adequacy of Kymlicka'sorganizingframe- workforhis discussionof theoriesofjustice, I fearhe is insufficientlycritical of the philosophical liberalismthathe espouses. The core of philosophicalliberalismaccordingto Kymlickais an ideal of "liberal equality."Kymlickasupposes that the equal treatmentthatgovern- mentsowe to theircitizensideallywould involvemaintainingequal resource shares for all except insofar as individualsby their voluntarychoices are responsiblefortheholdingsofresourcestheygain. He followsRawlsinurging thatpeople are not morallydeservingof theirgood fortunein gainingabove- average holdingsof resourcesiftheirgood fortuneis due to theirpossession of nativetalents,forwhichtheycan claim no special credit.If we begin from the premise thatpeople should have equal opportunityto gain positionsof advantage in the social system,equal opportunityshould be interpretedas requiringthatpeople should receivecompensationthatoffsetsdifferencesin theirinheritedtalents,whichare morallyarbitraryjust as differencesin inher- itedwealthare morallyarbitrary.Atthelimit,equalityofopportunityinterpre- ted in thisway becomes the liberalequalityprincipleas characterizedabove. The liberalequalityideal can be regardedas expressingtheaspirationto provideeach citizena fairshare of means thatenable her freelyto choose to live a kindof lifethatshe has reason to value. The initialpresumptionis that fair shares will be equal shares, and this is a radical presumptionbecause the resources that are to be equalized include people's favorable personal circumstancessuch as talents.Accordingto Kymlicka,liberalequalityshould not demand continuedequal shareswhen unequal sharesare the foreseeable outcome of voluntarychoices byindividualsfroma startingpointof equality. Central to the principleof liberal equality that Kymlickaespouses is a dichotomybetween an individual'svoluntarychoices (and theirforeseeable outcomes),forwhichtheindividualis deemed responsible,and theindividual's unchosen circumstances(includingher talents),whichsocietyshould tryto render equal for all by provision of compensation. But this dichotomyis problematicbecause thelinebetweentheportionofone's lifethatone chooses

Ethics

January 1994

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391

and the portion that is unchosen does not coincide with the line between mattersforwhichone can and cannotbe held personallyresponsible.If your unchosen circumstancesinclude your talents,how can you be deemed fully responsibleforyourvoluntarychoices,since the abilityto make good choices and wisedecisionsis obviouslya talentthatis distributedveryunevenlyacross persons? If my voluntarychoices cause me to be badly off,perhaps justice requiressocietyto provideme furtherhelp,ifmychoicesreflectchoicemaking deficienciesthatare beyondmycontrol.The divisionofresponsibilitybetween individual and society that Kymlicka'sliberal equality ideal expresses can hardlybe a fundamentaltenetofjustice. This worryalso cuts to the basis of the claim that people ought to be treatedas equals, thateach person is owed equal considerationand respect. Philosophical liberalismholds that human persons deserve greaterrespect and considerationthan other animals in virtueof our capacities forrational agency,but personsdifferwidelyin thedegreetowhichtheypossesscapacities for rational agency. These cognitiveand emotional abilitiesare distributed unevenlyby contingenciesof birthand socialization.We surelydon't wantto conclude thatpersonsare owed differentdegreesofconsiderationand respect in proportionto theircapacitiesforrationalagency,but howis thisconclusion to be resisted?Rawls has responded thatrationalityis a range propertyand that any being that passes the thresholdof the range is entitledto equal respect,but the adequacy of thisresponse is worthfurtherscrutiny.I suggest thatponderingthisissue would have led Kymlickato treatmorecarefullythe rivalutilitarianapproach to the topic of human equalityand equal respect. Kymlicka'sversion of justice as liberal equality is problematicin other respects.A wide varietyof typesof personal and externalresourcesevidently mustbe aggregated into resource shares,but Kymlickasayslittleabout how

to

be solved. Then the questionariseswhethera principlethatrequiresequality of resources(or thatgiveslexical priorityto the goal of maximizingthe share

of the worstoff) is too stringent.Kymlickaraises the possibilitythat even providinghuge offsettingresourcecompensationpaymentsto severelydisad- vantagedpersonsmightstillleave themfarworseoffin overallresourcesthan healthypersons. Equality mightrequire transferof virtuallyall resourcesto persons who would get littlebenefitfromthem. Kymlickathinkswe should not insiston such extremetransfersin the name of equalityand believesthis is not a problemforthe liberalequalityideal, but his reasoning puzzles me:

"Our concern forpeople's circumstancesis a concernto promotetheirability to pursue theirends. If in tryingto equalize the means we preventanyone fromachievingtheirends,thenwe have failedcompletely"(p. 79). This looks like a fudge. If transfersare carriedjust to the point of equality,then the severelydisabled will have resources for achievingtheirends equivalent to everyoneelse's resources.Everyonewillbe able to achieve her ends,but only to a verysmall extent.The difficultyis not thatinsistenceon strictequality is somehow self-defeating,but thatin these circumstancesthe cost to better- offpersons of transferringfurtherresources to worse-offpersons does not seem to be worththe improvementthatthese transfersbringabout forthe worse off.The cost-to-benefitratio is too unfavorable.Notice that thisis a broadlyutilitariancriticismof equality.This is one of the pointsin the book

measure these heterogeneousresource shares. Assume this problem can

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where Kymlicka'sdefenseof the positionhe favorswould have been stronger ifhis argumenthad probed more deeply. The liberal equality ideal also prompts questions fromthe libertarian right that Kymlicka does not take as seriously as he might have. Liberal equality as characterized by Kymlicka fundamentallyrejects the Lockean idea that each person is the rightfulowner of her own body. In liberal egalitarian theory,we do not fully own our bodies, because we do not deserve our talents, and we are obligated to use our bodies in ways that contributeto the opportunitiesofothersas sanctionedbydistributivejustice norms. But libertariansnote thatthe liberal egalitarian is quite selectivein her discussion of self-ownershipand does not fullyfollow through the apparent implicationsof itsrejection. In the contextof abortioncontrover- sies, some liberal egalitarians insist on the woman's right to control her body even if the fetus inside her is deemed a person. The talents of attractingromantic partners and friends are very unevenly distributed across persons, but liberal egalitariansdo not propose talent-poolingreme- dies for these natural injustices. Why not require handsome persons to share sexual favorswithunhandsome persons, and charmingwittypersons to share their company with uncharming and witless folk? As Kymlicka himselfpoints out in another context,you cannot simplyinvoke a distinc- tionbetween privatelifeand public responsibilityto answerthesequestions, because the shape of a morallyacceptable public/privatedistinctionshould be determined by firstprinciples, not by ad hoc accommodation of en- trenched hunches. This is not to suggest thatthisline of criticismis unan-

swerable,just that it would have

own

been nice if Kymlickahad addressed it.

In thisreviewI have exercisedthe reviewer'sprerogativeto be curmud- geonlyand to concentrateon disagreements.In conclusionI wantto empha- size thatthereis also a lot to agree withand thatKymlicka'swritingis incisive

and intelligenteven when it promptsdisagreement.Kymlickaarticulatesan importantline of thoughtin contemporaryliberalism,usefullycompares this doctrineto rivalapproaches, and therebycontributessignificantlyto our un- derstandingof theoriesofjustice.

RICHARD J.ARNESON

UniversityofCalifornia,San Diego

Klosko, George. ThePrincipleofFairnessand PoliticalObligation. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield,1992. Pp. 204. $52.50 (cloth); $19.95 (paper).

George Klosko here refinesa number of his recentarticlesinto an original, clear, and pleasinglycompact book on an importantproblem.It is as useful forits discussion of the principleof fairnessas it is foritsdefenseof politi- cal obligation. Though many regard fairnessas a constrainton any theoryof political obligation,fewernow regardit as thegroundof such a theory.First,manyof thebenefitsthestateprovidesare unavoidableand,as Nozickargues,thrusting

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