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Reading: Border Control and Relational Egalitarianism


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Border Control and Relational Egalitarianism


Lewis Williams

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
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In this article, I examine Wellman’s proposal in Immigration and Freedom of Association that wealthy states have a right to close their borders to migrants from poorer states. I pay particular attention to Wellman’s discussion of relational egalitarianism, and his argument that even if the claim of relational egalitarianism is weighty enough to trump the wealthy state’s right to closed borders, the lack of relational inequality between members of wealthy and poorer states means that no sufficient reason is generated to oblige wealthy states to close their borders. I argue that relational inequality does exist between members of wealthy and poorer states, and that opening borders could be one particularly effective way of overcoming this inequality. Therefore, I conclude that if we take the weightiness of the relational egalitarian claim seriously, then we should understand it as undermining the right of wealthy states to border control.

How to Cite: Williams, L., 2019. Border Control and Relational Egalitarianism. Rerum Causae, 10(1), pp.35–43.
Published on 11 Sep 2019.
Peer Reviewed


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