"The citizens of rich countries are responsible for what governments do in our name"

  • Thomas Pogge is director of the Global Justice Program and is Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard, and is one of the most active and committed philosophers working today. His publications include World Poverty and Human Rights, one of the most important and controversial works in contemporary philosophy, in which he highlights the ways in which international institutions facilitate and exacerbate the corruption perpetuated by national institutions.

You argue that rich countries are violating the human rights of the world's poor. Which rights are being violated?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

You also argue that there is a supranational, institutional system that generates massive human rights deficits. What are the most significant aspects of this deficit?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

Which countries suffer from these deficits?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

How much responsibility do the citizens of rich countries have for the decisions taken by their politicians that harm poor countries?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

So what do you think are the most effective ways for a citizen to help eradicate global poverty?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

What do you think is the best way to motivate rich people to help poor people?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

What measures do you think the international community should take to solve this problem? Do you think it is doing enough?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

What should we do?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

When you talk about globalization, you argue that if there was any alternative route which would have led a smaller deficit of human rights should have been applied. Do you think that was? What it was?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

In the context of the current crisis and the economic difficulties faced by many families in simply getting through each month, should we prioritize help at local level or should we allocate aid globally?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

Finally, should private companies solve the problems that public administrations are unable to cope with, due to a lack of financial resources?

We are violating practically every human right, but in particular social and economic ones. I would point to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that refers to every person's right to a level of life that allows the individual and his or her family to enjoy health, well-being and, in particular, food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.