Among the world’s liberal elites today, a received view answers all five of the questions put by this book, arguing that systematic injustice is, essentially, persecution by a government; that there are no global social injustices; that individuals have a strong reason to challenge injustices only if they perpetrated or were victimized by them; that the individuals made unfree by systematic injustice are only its direct victims; and that the ultimate harm done by oppression is the unjust denial, to the oppressed, of the ability to live as free and equal citizens. Against this, the book’s introduction presents the theory of “Unfreedom for All,” which argues that oppressions are also institutional structures that privilege one group and unjustly harm another; that global systematic injustices of, say, race, gender, and poverty do exist; that all are harmed by oppressions because all are made unfree by them; and that this should be everyone’s main reason for joining in solidarity against them.
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