This article investigates the relationship between distributive injustice and political obligation within the confines of the fair-play theory of political obligation. More specifically, it asks how the distribution of benefits and burdens of a cooperative scheme affects people’s fair-play obligations to that scheme. It argues that neither a sufficiency-based nor a proportionality-based approach is capable of answering that question singlehandedly. However, the two approaches can be combined in a plausible way. Noting that some of the duties that go into our fair-play obligations are ‘gradual’ and others are ‘non-gradual’, the article argues that the sufficiency-based approach explains non-gradual duties such as the duty to obey the law, and that the proportionality-based approach explains gradual duties like political participation and civic responsibility. Thus, the article contends that the fair-play theory should be extended beyond the question of legal compliance and be applied to the duties of good citizenship more generally.
European Journal of Political Theory – SAGE
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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