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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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“Imagine There’s No Countries”

“Imagine There’s No Countries”

A Reply to John Lennon

(p.304) Chapter 16 “Imagine There’s No Countries”
On Global Justice

Mathias Risse

Princeton University Press

This chapter offers a sweeping objection to any attempt to argue toward the conclusion that the system of states ought to cease to exist. At the heart of this objection is the claim that John Lennon, in his famous song, is wrong. Lennon not only invites us to imagine a world with no states (“no countries”) or perhaps a single global state (“the world will be as one”), he also tells us that it is easy to imagine such a world. The chapter develops an account of what it is to justify states, first by considering the views of Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, and John Rawls. It then examines the claim that there might be no moral or rational reconstruction of the existence of states. It concludes by arguing that we ought to make our world of states as good as possible rather than aspire to a different kind of political world.

Keywords:   state system, John Lennon, states, Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls

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