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Immigration, Ethics and the Capabilities Approach


  • Risse, Mathias


Often, immigration debates are conducted under the presumption that immigration policies must be justifiable only to those who already live in the respective country. Alas, reflection on the justifiability of immigration policies to those excluded becomes ever more important in a politically and economically increasingly interconnected world. This study explores two approaches to the normative reflection on immigration at some depth, namely, the idea that restrictive immigration policies are problematic because they are hampering the development of human capabilities, as well as the idea that such policies are problematic because they are at odds with the fact that our planet belongs to humanity collectively. On both of these proposals, less restrictive immigration policies are not merely demanded as one possible way of aiding the poor, but would be required as such. Both of these approaches can be treated within the same framework, the grounds-of-justice framework, which allows us to focus on the idea that states must also be justified to those who do not belong to them. Central to the proposal about immigration that can be made within this approach are ideas of over- and under-use of commonly owned resources and spaces.

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  • Risse, Mathias, 2009. "Immigration, Ethics and the Capabilities Approach," MPRA Paper 19218, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:19218

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    2. Étienne Gilbert, 1983. "A. Sen, Poverty and Famines, an essay on Entitlement and Deprivation," Revue Tiers Monde, Programme National Persée, vol. 24(93), pages 211-211.
    3. Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284635.
    4. Michael Clemens & Claudio Montenegro & Lant Pritchett, 2008. "The Place Premium: Wage Differences for Identical Workers across the U.S. Border," Working Papers 148, Center for Global Development.
    5. Saskia Sassen, 2008. "Introduction to Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages," Introductory Chapters,in: Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages Princeton University Press.
    6. Herman van der Wusten, 2008. "Territory, Authority, Rights. From Medieval to Global Assemblages," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 99(2), pages 260-262, April.
    7. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    More about this item


    Immigration; justice; capabilities; common ownership of the earth; resources;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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