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On Global Justice$
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Mathias Risse

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142692

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142692.001.0001

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Proportionate Use

Proportionate Use

Immigration and Original Ownership of the Earth

(p.152) Chapter 8 Proportionate Use
On Global Justice

Mathias Risse

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between immigration and collective ownership of the earth, and whether the physical aspect of immigration provides constraints on immigration policy. The fact that the earth is originally collectively owned must affect how communities can regulate access to what they occupy. The chapter first considers an account of relative over- and underuse of original resources before discussing illegal immigration in the United States, using a parallel to the civil law notion of “adverse possession” to argue that, under certain conditions, illegal immigration is morally unobjectionable. It then formulates conditions under which it would be reasonable for co-owners to refrain from entering certain regions, even though they would violate no duties of justice by doing so. This proposal is part of the overall approach to global justice that pluralist internationalism develops.

Keywords:   earth, immigration policy, resources, illegal immigration, civil law, adverse possession, co-owners, global justice, pluralist internationalism, collective ownership

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