Global Justice and Territorial Rights

Tamar Meisels*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay considers, and rejects, the proposal that territorial disputes among nations should be settled on the basis of principles of equal distribution. Primarily, it argues that egalitarian principles are applicable only within multilateral relationships and, as far as territory is concerned, only with regard to decisions that involve the relationship between all nations of the world and the entire Earth's surface. In contrast, territorial disputes are bilateral by nature, and concern only a small portion of the globe. As for ‘territorial justice’ on a global scale, the second half of this article questions egalitarian proposals for global justice that deal directly with the distribution of land. Specifically, it rejects the egalitarian contention, advanced most explicitly by Hillel Steiner, that nations' territorial holdings can be appraised objectively in terms of real-estate value to the exclusion of any national considerations, and divided equally among the world's inhabitants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-251
Number of pages21
JournalStudies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2009


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