Thomas Pogge

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Thomas Pogge
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Thomas Pogge (2014)
Thomas Winfried Menko Pogge

(1953-08-13) 13 August 1953 (age 65)
Nationality German
Alma mater Harvard University
Notable work
Realizing Rawls
Awards2013 Gregory Kavka Prize in political philosophy [1]
Institutions Yale University
Main interests
John Rawls
Immanuel Kant

Thomas Winfried Menko Pogge ( /ˈpɒɡi/ ; born 13 August 1953) [2] is a German philosopher and is the Director of the Global Justice Program and Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University. In addition to his Yale appointment, he is the Research Director of the Centre for the Study of the Mind in Nature at the University of Oslo, a Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University and Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Central Lancashire's Centre for Professional Ethics. Pogge is also an editor for social and political philosophy for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [3] and a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. [4] [5]

Yale University private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

University of Oslo Norwegian public research university

The University of Oslo, until 1939 named the Royal Frederick University, is the oldest university in Norway, located in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. Until 1 January 2016 it was the largest Norwegian institution of higher education in terms of size, now surpassed only by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The Academic Ranking of World Universities has ranked it the 58th best university in the world and the third best in the Nordic countries. In 2015, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked it the 135th best university in the world and the seventh best in the Nordics. While in its 2016, Top 200 Rankings of European universities, the Times Higher Education listed the University of Oslo at 63rd, making it the highest ranked Norwegian university.

Charles Sturt University public university in Australia

Charles Sturt University (CSU) is an Australian multi-campus public university located in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Queensland. Established in 1989, it was named in honour of Captain Charles Sturt, a British explorer who made expeditions into regional New South Wales and South Australia.


Early life

Pogge received his Ph.D. from Harvard University with a dissertation supervised by John Rawls. [6] Since then, he has published widely on Immanuel Kant and in moral and political philosophy, including various books on Rawls and global justice.

John Rawls American political philosopher

John Bordley Rawls was an American moral and political philosopher in the liberal tradition. Rawls received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls's work "helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself."

Immanuel Kant Prussian philosopher

Immanuel Kant was an influential German philosopher in the Age of Enlightenment. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; "things-in-themselves" exist, but their nature is unknowable. In his view, the mind shapes and structures experience, with all human experience sharing certain structural features. He drew a parallel to the Copernican revolution in his proposition that worldly objects can be intuited a priori ('beforehand'), and that intuition is therefore independent from objective reality. Kant believed that reason is the source of morality, and that aesthetics arise from a faculty of disinterested judgment. Kant's views continue to have a major influence on contemporary philosophy, especially the fields of epistemology, ethics, political theory, and post-modern aesthetics.

Global justice

Global justice is an issue in political philosophy arising from the concern about unfairness. It is sometimes understood as a form of internationalism.

Major works

The Health Impact Fund: Making New Medicines Accessible for All (2008)

In this book, Thomas Pogge and Aidan Hollis argue in favour of establishing the Health Impact Fund (HIF). The HIF is a new proposal for stimulating research and development of life-saving pharmaceuticals that make substantial reductions in the global burden of disease.

The Health Impact Fund (HIF) is a proposed pay-for-performance mechanism that would provide a market-based solution to problems concerning the development and distribution of medicines globally. It would incentivize the research and development of new pharmaceutical products that make substantial reductions in the global burden of disease. The HIF is the creation of a team of researchers led by the Yale philosopher Thomas Pogge and the University of Calgary economist Aidan Hollis, and is promoted by the non-profit organization Incentives for Global Health (IGH).

Research and development general term for activities in connection with corporate or governmental innovation

Research and development, known in Europe as research and technological development (RTD), refers to innovative activities undertaken by corporations or governments in developing new services or products, or improving existing services or products. Research and development constitutes the first stage of development of a potential new service or the production process.

Global health Health of populations in a global context

Global health is the health of populations in the global context; it has been defined as "the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide". Problems that transcend national borders or have a global political and economic impact are often emphasized. Thus, global health is about worldwide health improvement, reduction of disparities, and protection against global threats that disregard national borders. Global health is not to be confused with international health, which is defined as the branch of public health focusing on developing nations and foreign aid efforts by industrialized countries. Global health can be measured as a function of various global diseases and their prevalence in the world and threat to decrease life in the present day.

The HIF will provide pharmaceutical companies with a new choice. Pharmaceutical companies can sell a new medicine in the usual manner at patent-protected high prices, or they can choose to register their new medicine with the HIF and sell it globally at the cost of production. If they choose to register their medicine with the HIF, the pharmaceutical company will receive additional payments from the fund that are proportionate to health improvements that are brought about by the registered medicines. The more effective the medicine is in improving global health, the bigger the payout. Because malaria kills millions, the firm that finds and develops a cure can expect a significant return. [7]

Patent Intellectual property conferring a monopoly on a new invention

A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, selling, and importing an invention for a limited period of years, in exchange for publishing an enabling public disclosure of the invention. In most countries patent rights fall under civil law and the patent holder needs to sue someone infringing the patent in order to enforce his or her rights. In some industries patents are an essential form of competitive advantage; in others they are irrelevant.

World Poverty and Human Rights (2002, 2008)

Pogge's World Poverty and Human Rights (2002) includes a number of original and substantial theses, the most notable being that people in wealthy Western liberal democracies (such as Western Europeans) are currently harming the world's poor (like those in sub-Saharan Africa). In particular, without denying that much blame should be directed at domestic kleptocrats, Pogge urges us to recognize the ways in which international institutions facilitate and exacerbate the corruption perpetuated by national institutions. Pogge is especially critical of the “resource” and “borrowing” privileges, [8] which allow illegitimate political leaders to sell natural resources and to borrow money in the name of the country and its people. In Pogge's analysis, these resource and borrowing privileges that international society extends to oppressive rulers of impoverished states play a crucial causal role in perpetuating absolute poverty. What is more, Pogge maintains that these privileges are no accident; they persist because they are in the interest of the wealthy states. The resource privilege helps guarantee a reliable supply of raw materials for the goods enjoyed by the members of wealthy states, and the borrowing privilege allows the financial institutions of wealthy states to issue lucrative loans. It may seem that such loans are good for developing states too, but Pogge argues that, in practice, they typically work quite to the contrary:

<i>World Poverty and Human Rights</i> book by Thomas Pogge

World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms is a 2002 book by Thomas Pogge. In the book, Pogge explains that the poorest 44 percent of humankind have 1.3 percent of global income and their purchasing power per person per day is less than that of $2.15 in the US in 1993; 826 million of them do not have enough to eat. One-third of all human deaths are from poverty-related causes: 18 million annually, including 12 million children under five.

In general, corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Political corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. Corruption is most commonplace in kleptocracies, oligarchies, narco-states and mafia states.

The International Resource Privilege is the power to transfer ownership or freely dispose of the natural resources of a country by the authority that countries give to the current leadership or government of that country. The resource privilege exists regardless of how the rulers came to power. While bribery is often illegal, the purchase of these resources by payment to the current government in control is legal. Corrupt leaders sell these resources to generate revenue which entrenches the corrupt government and incentivizing the seizure of power itself. This further handicaps the ability to achieve democracy along with hindering economic growth and the eradication of poverty.

Local elites can afford to be oppressive and corrupt, because, with foreign loans and military aid, they can stay in power even without popular support. And they are often so oppressive and corrupt, because it is, in light of the prevailing extreme international inequalities, far more lucrative for them to cater to the interests of foreign governments and firms than to those of their impoverished compatriots. [9]

Social inequality

Social inequality occurs when resources in a given society are distributed unevenly, typically through norms of allocation, that engender specific patterns along lines of socially defined categories of persons. It is the differentiation preference of access of social goods in the society brought about by power, religion, kinship, prestige, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and class. The social rights include labor market, the source of income, health care, and freedom of speech, education, political representation, and participation. Social inequality linked to economic inequality, usually described on the basis of the unequal distribution of income or wealth, is a frequently studied type of social inequality. Though the disciplines of economics and sociology generally use different theoretical approaches to examine and explain economic inequality, both fields are actively involved in researching this inequality. However, social and natural resources other than purely economic resources are also unevenly distributed in most societies and may contribute to social status. Norms of allocation can also affect the distribution of rights and privileges, social power, access to public goods such as education or the judicial system, adequate housing, transportation, credit and financial services such as banking and other social goods and services.

Realizing Rawls (1989)

In Realizing Rawls, Pogge defends, criticizes and extends John Rawls's A Theory of Justice (1971). Pogge insists that Rawls has been importantly misunderstood by his most influential critics, including the libertarian Robert Nozick and the communitarian Michael Sandel. According to Pogge, Rawls’ reluctance to disagree sharply with his critics has helped these (mis)understandings to become widespread, and has also induced Rawls in his more recent work to dilute the moral statement of his central Rawlsian ideas: first, that moral deliberation must begin from reflection upon the justice of our basic social institutions; and second, that the justice of an institutional scheme is to be assessed by how well its least advantaged participants fare. From these starting points, Pogge develops his own specification of Rawls's principles of justice, discussing the relative importance of different fundamental rights and liberties, the ideal constitution of the political process, and the just organization of educational, health-care, and economic institutions. In the last part of the book, Pogge argues for extending the Rawlsian criterion of justice to the international arena, and identifies those features of the present global order that this criterion would single out as principal targets for institutional reform.

Other projects

Giving What We Can

Giving What We Can is an international society for the promotion of poverty relief, in particular in the developing world. The aims of the organisation are to encourage people to commit to long-term donation to those charities that provide the most cost-effective poverty relief. Giving What We Can conducts extensive research into the relative effectiveness of charities, and provides a list of those it most highly recommends. Currently this includes charities that work to treat neglected diseases (NTDs), malaria and micronutrient deficiency.

Incentives for Global Health (IGH)

IGH is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing market-based, systemic solutions to health challenges faced by the world's poor. Its flagship proposal is the Health Impact Fund.

Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP)

Thomas Pogge speaking in Munich about Academics Stand Against Poverty (2014) 2014-01-08 Thomas Pogge 4737-cropped.JPG
Thomas Pogge speaking in Munich about Academics Stand Against Poverty (2014)

Academics Stand Against Poverty is an organization meant to help academics have a greater impact on world poverty. “The group lies between academia and activism. Like the latter, it aims primarily at persuading and motivating people to change their behavior. Like the former, it does so by moral and political argument, using the distinctive skills of academics.” [10]

This project is still in its beginning stages. It has three central aims:

  1. To disseminate accessible versions of arguments for taking action against world poverty to the public; [11]
  2. To disseminate responses to standard objections to such arguments to the public;
  3. To distribute discussion of what individuals and states in developing countries should do in response to world poverty to the public.

Poverty and gender equality measurement

Various indices - the United Nations Development Programme's Human and Gender‐Related Development Indices, and the World Bank’s Poverty Index - are used to track poverty, development, and gender equity at the population level. Pogge argues that these prominent indices are deeply flawed and therefore distort our moral judgments and misguide resource allocations by governments, international agencies, and non-governmental organizations. [12]

“This project will work toward new indices ‘of poverty and of gender equity’ applicable both at the national and supranational levels, and to smaller groups affected by specific policies and programs. Both indices will draw on a holistic measure of individual (dis)advantage that reflects all relevant aspects of a person's situation.” [13]

Pogge has pursued similar themes in Politics as Usual: What Lies Behind the Pro-Poor Rhetoric (2010). [14]

Illicit financial flows

This project focuses on the illicit financial flows out of developing countries, the lack of transparency in the global financial system, and the impact these conditions have on human rights. The driving idea behind this project is that “‘human rights and international financial integrity are intimately linked’” and that poverty increases when money flows out of nations illicitly instead of being invested in the basic needs of people in their countries.” [15]

Forced Labor and Human Trafficking

The Forced Labor and Human Trafficking project aims “to bring public, official, and mainstream media attention to the global crisis of human trafficking and labor abuse towards children and adults.” The non-profit organization Art Works Projects is a contributor to this project.

Sexual harassment allegations

In 2010, Pogge was accused in a high-profile sexual harassment case by a recent Yale graduate student. [16] As a professor at Columbia University in the mid-1990s, Pogge had been disciplined by the school following allegations of sexual harassment. [17] In 2016, after new allegations were made by a graduate of Yale University, an internal review concluded only that Pogge had "inappropriately used Yale stationery in vouching for [the accuser's] employment." [17] After articles appeared on several websites, hundreds of professors, including the chair of Pogge's department at Yale, signed an open letter criticizing Pogge, [17] [18] [19] Pogge wrote a detailed defense. [20]


See also

Related Research Articles

Justice Concept of moral fairness and administration of the law

Justice, in its broadest context, includes both the attainment of that which is just and the philosophical discussion of that which is just. The concept of justice is based on numerous fields, and many differing viewpoints and perspectives including the concepts of moral correctness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion, equity and fairness. Often, the general discussion of justice is divided into the realm of social justice as found in philosophy, theology and religion, and, procedural justice as found in the study and application of the law.

Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges. In Western as well as in older Asian cultures, the concept of social justice has often referred to the process of ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society. In the current global grassroots movements for social justice, the emphasis has been on the breaking of barriers for social mobility, the creation of safety nets and economic justice.

<i>A Theory of Justice</i> work of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls

A Theory of Justice is a 1971 work of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls, in which the author addresses the problem of distributive justice. The theory utilises an updated form of Kantian philosophy and a variant form of conventional social contract theory. Rawls's theory of justice is fully a political theory of justice as opposed to other forms of justice discussed in other disciplines and contexts.

"Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical" is an essay by John Rawls, published in 1985. In it he describes his conception of justice. It comprises two main principles of liberty and equality; the second is subdivided into Fair Equality of Opportunity and the Difference Principle.

Paternalism action limiting a person’s or group’s liberty or autonomy intended to promote their own good

Paternalism is action that limits a person's or group's liberty or autonomy and is intended to promote their own good. Paternalism can also imply that the behavior is against or regardless of the will of a person, or also that the behavior expresses an attitude of superiority. Paternalism, paternalistic and paternalist have all been used as a pejorative.

Iris Marion Young American philosopher

Iris Marion Young was an American political theorist and feminist focused on the nature of justice and social difference. She served as Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and was affiliated with the Center for Gender Studies and the Human Rights program there. Her research covered contemporary political theory, feminist social theory, and normative analysis of public policy. She believed in the importance of political activism and encouraged her students to involve themselves in their communities.

Desert in philosophy is the condition of being deserving of something, whether good or bad.

Philosophy of healthcare

The philosophy of healthcare is the study of the ethics, processes, and people which constitute the maintenance of health for human beings. For the most part, however, the philosophy of healthcare is best approached as an indelible component of human social structures. That is, the societal institution of healthcare can be seen as a necessary phenomenon of human civilization whereby an individual continually seeks to improve, mend, and alter the overall nature and quality of their life. This perennial concern is especially prominent in modern political liberalism, wherein health has been understood as the foundational good necessary for public life.

Charles R. Beitz is an American political theorist. He is Edward S. Sanford Professor of Politics at Princeton University specializing in Political Theory, as well as former director of the University Center for Human Values. His philosophical and teaching interests focus on international political theory, democratic theory, the theory of human rights and legal theory.

Sebastiano Maffettone (1948) is University Professor and Dean of the Political Science Department at LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome, where he teaches Political Philosophy and Theories of Globalization. He has taught in several Italian universities as well as International universities. Maffettone graduated summa cum laude from the University of Naples in 1970, and he completed his graduate studies in social philosophy LSE in 1976, under the supervision of philosophers such as Karl Popper and Amartya K. Sen.

Veronique Zanetti is a German professor of Political Philosophy at Faculty of History, Philosophy, and Theology, Bielefeld University.

Global resources dividend

The global resources dividend (GRD) is a method of tackling global poverty advanced by the philosopher Thomas Pogge. He presents it as an alternative to the current global economic order. Under the scheme, nations would pay a dividend (tax) on any resources that they use or sell, resulting in a sort of "tax on consumption" Pogge's scheme is motivated by the positive duty to alleviate poverty, but also on the negative responsibility of the rich not to use institutions that perpetuate economic inequality. Pogge estimates that a dividend of just 1% could raise $300 billion each year; this would equal $250 for each individual in the worlds poorest quintile.

<i>Politics as Usual</i> (book) book by Thomas Winfried Menko Pogge

Politics as Usual: What Lies Behind the Pro-Poor Rhetoric is a 2010 book by Thomas Pogge. The book is a discussion on issues of global significance and their relationship to poverty. Politics as Usual is based on previously compiled essays. Pogge's book present an alternate view than the one where "Education, health-care, technology, and political participation are becoming ever more universal, empowering human beings everywhere to enjoy security, economic sufficiency, equal citizenship, and a life in dignity." according to Crop. He presents one where Poverty and oppression persist on a massive scale, one where the affluent states and international organizations knowingly contribute and even benefit from these evils.

Pharmaceutical innovations are currently guided by a patent system, the patent system protects the innovator of medicines for a period of time. The patent system does not currently stimulate innovation or pricing that provides access to medicine for those who need it the most, It provides for profitable innovation. As of 2014 about $140 Billion is spent on research and development of pharmaceuticals which produces 25-35 new drugs. Technology, which is transforming science, medicine, and research tools has increased the speed at which we can analyze data but we currently still must test the products which is a lengthy process. Differences in the performance of medical care may be due to variation in the introduction and circulation of pharmaceutical innovations.

<i>One World: The Ethics of Globalisation</i> book by Peter Singer

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  1. Gregory Kavka/UC Irvine Prize in Political Philosophy
  2. "Pogge, Thomas, 1953-". Library of Congress. Retrieved 10 August 2014. (Thomas Pogge) data view (b. Aug. 13, 1953)
  3. SEP: Subject Editors
  4. "Gruppe 3: Idéfag" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters . Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  5. Yale profile
  6. When the global economic order favors the rich
  8. Thomas Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Polity Press 2008), pp. 29-30.
  9. World Poverty and Human Rights, 2nd ed. 2008, p. 295, n. 238
  10. “Global Justice Program: Academics Stand Against Poverty,”
  11. CROP - Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP)
  12. Thomas Pogge, “How Not to Count the Poor” (Sanjay Reddy and Thomas Pogge), in Sudhir Anand, Paul Segal and Joseph Stiglitz, eds.: Debates in the Measurement of Global Poverty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)
  13. Global Justice Program: Poverty and Gender Equity Measurement, Accessed July 28, 2016.
  14. Thomas Pogge, Politics as Usual: What Lies Behind the Pro-Poor Rhetoric (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2010) ISBN   9780745638935
  15. Raymond Baker, Thomas Pogge, and Arvind Ganesan, "Financial Integrity Meets Human Rights," Huffington Post , March 18, 2010.
  16. Ethics and the Eye of the Beholder
  17. 1 2 3 Noah Remnick, "After a Professor Is Cleared of Sexual Harassment, Critics Fear 'Cultural Silence' at Yale, New York Times (July 8, 2016).
  18. Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz, Fellow Philosophers Criticize Yale Scholar for Alleged Sexual Harassment, The Chronicle of Higher Education , (June 20, 2016).
  19. Adrian Rodrigues, Monica Wang and Victor Wang, Philosophy community signs open letter in striking rebuke of Pogge, Yale Daily News (June 20, 2016).
  20. Response to the Allegations, Accessed July 22, 2016.