Call for Papers: Money, Migration, and Morality (MANCEPT Workshop)

Where: MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

When: 10th-12th September 2018,

Convenor: Dr. Lior Erez, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Tel Aviv University

In the heated debates surrounding the policies and practices of migration, one issue in particular elicits controversy: the introduction of money. Whether expressed through market mechanisms, financial incentives, or economic criteria, for many observers there is a sense that mixing money and migration policy is wrong. And yet policies, practices, and proposals in this vein are bourgeoning. States from Antigua to Vanuatu are now offering citizenship by investment, with little to no residence requirements, and even more commonly states offer stratified migration routes to those able to pay for it. States frequently add economic criteria to residency and naturalisation requirements, with the cost of application proving prohibitive to many prospective applicants. Migrants are offered financial incentives to return to their homelands, as states bargain for compensation for keeping refugees at bay. In the meanwhile, illegal markets of migration, from smugglers to foragers to facilitators of fictitious marriages, abound.

The aim of this workshop will be to explore the philosophical, political, and ethical facets of these phenomena. Is there a common theoretical core to understanding these different practices? What is the best way to conceptualise the general public controversy surrounding these policies? What are the ethical and political questions that arise from mixing money, markets and migration? How do these practices affect common conceptions of state sovereignty, citizenship, national identity?

We also invite contributions which will respond to and consider radical proposals for introducing money and markets to migration policy, now common in legal, economic and political scholarship: these include, for example, states selling migration rights to the highest bidder; allowing markets for individuals to buy and sell migration rights; and introducing a market mechanism for trading refugee quotas, allowing states to pay for restricting migration or benefit from their willingness to receive it.

The approach of the workshop to this question will be pluralistic, encouraging papers from all disciplines including analytical political philosophy, political economy, critical social theory, legal theory, and international relations.

Suggested topics of papers may include, but need not be limited to:

  • Theories of commodification and the limits of markets in legal, social, and political theory, applied to question of migration policy
  • The cases for and against citizenship for sale, investor migration, and “Golden visas”
  • Markets in migration and the boundary problem in democratic theory
  • Trading refugee quotas and paying migrants to leave
  • The marketization of state sovereignty and global injustice
  • Civic equality and prohibitive economic conditions for residence and naturalisation of migrants
  • Human capital flight (“brain drain”), exclusionary migration policies, and economic compensation.
  • The ethics of illegal markets in migration

To apply, please send an abstract (500 words max.) to Lior Erez (liorerez [at] no later than 24th May, 2018.


Published: ”Patriotism, Nationalism, and the Motivational Critique of Cosmopolitanism” Springer’s Handbook of Patriotism

An online version of my paper  ‘Patriotism, Nationalism, and the Motivational Critique of Cosmopolitanism’ which is due to appear in the Handbook of Patriotism in 2018, is available here [If you don’t have access to the published version, you can find a Pre proofs version here]. In essence it is a truncated version of the argument I made in my PhD thesis, parts of which are discussed in more detail (on normative feasibility; on the motivational preconditions of social justice; on cosmopolitanism and patriotism in humanitarian interventions).

9783319544830Abstract: This chapter offers a critical examination of the motivational critique of cosmopolitanism. While the objection that cosmopolitanism is motivationally deficient is common in defenses of patriotism and compatriot partiality, this chapter argues that it is often ambiguous, as it conflates three analytically distinct arguments. It then offers a framework with which to analyze each version of the motivational critique separately, distinguishing between the meta-normative, the ethical, and the political. Meta-normative arguments focus on the limits of human nature and motivational capacities; ethical arguments focus on the demandingness of moral requirements; and political arguments focus on the stability preconditions of social justice institutions. Demonstrating the flaws in the first two versions, it is argued that only the latter is plausible as a critique of cosmopolitanism: cosmopolitans have yet to explain what will maintain institutional stability, while the leading solutions to the problem of stability – liberalism, nationalism, and republicanism – all have anti-cosmopolitan implications. The chapter concludes by considering the implications of this analysis for cosmopolitans and their critics.

Book Review: Chaim Gans, A Political Theory for the Jewish People

[Forthcoming in Political Studies Review, see Early View here]

Chaim Gans’s long battle to rescue Zionism from itself reaches its culmination in this work. While his previous book, A Just Zionism: On the Morality of the Jewish State (Oxford University Press, 2008) was a self-standing defence of an egalitarian form of Zionism, here Gans turns his sights to the alternatives, seeking to situate his position between the Scylla of hegemonic interpretations of Zionism and the Charybdis of Post-Zionism. In the process, he provides a detailed and sophisticated account of the history of the Zionist movement and its internal variations, and analyses the different grounds for the view that, the Jews, as a national group, were justified in settling in Palestine and in establishing a Jewish state. Gans’s main target, the mainstream position he labels ‘Proprietary Zionism’, is based on an essentialist view of the Jewish nation throughout history, and its claims of ownership over the land of Israel. Gans concurs with the Post-Zionists in rejecting this historiography and the social ontology it assumes, but at the same time he denies the Post-Zionist conclusion: In a nutshell, his argument is that Jews have a right for self-determination (though not hegemony) in Israel, not due to claims of ownership, but due to the centrality of this territory in their cultural identity, and given the urgency of escaping persecution. In the final sections of the book, Gans considers the implications of his Egalitarian Zionism for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and for Israel’s relations with Jews beyond its borders.

This is a sophisticated and rich work in analytical political philosophy, which admirably does not limit itself to the ivory tower, but takes a clear position in some of the most heated debates in Israeli political discourse. Gans does not shy away from criticising the interpretations of national self-determination endorsed by Israel’s political and judicial elites, and his detailed critique of Post-Zionism’s philosophical fallacies is a welcomed addition to the existing, often unclear literature. This leaves open, however, the question of the book’s intended audience. While clearly Gans’s Egalitarian Zionism is an application of his earlier general theory of nationalism (previously defended in his 2003 The Limits of Nationalism), it is not obvious that the more innovative arguments employed in the current book are applicable beyond the particular context of Zionism; it is not a coincidence that the book was published first in Hebrew, with an Israeli audience in mind. As such, this is clearly an essential read for those with a stake in the battle for the future of the Zionist project, and more generally for those interested in novel thinking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A Political Theory for the Jewish People by Chaim Gans. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. 305pp., £22.99 (h/b), ISBN 9780190237547


Published: ‘The Donor’s Dilemma: International Aid and Human Rights Violations’ (with Niheer Dasandi) in the British Journal of Political Science

This one has been a long time in the making.. Niheer and I started on the idea all the way back in July 2014 (!), so it is even more rewarding to see this paper out now, and especially given the great journal we managed to land it in.

What we tried to do in this paper is to develop a framework of thinking about dilemmas in politics, and specifically given cases of human rights violations in development aid recipients. My theoretical contribution here is to suggest a ‘political’ interpretation of the traditional literature in moral philosophy on the ontology and epistemology of dilemmas. In January 2016, Niheer and I organised a workshop on this theme at UCL’s Global Governance Institute (see here), where we were lucky enough to host the brilliant Jennifer Rubenstein (author of Between Samaritans and States: The Political Ethics of Humanitarian INGOs; see my review of this book here).

A word on working across subfields and across disciplines. I am a normative politicla theorist by training, with a tendency towards the philosophical. Niheer is a political economist specializing in international development. While this is not my first cross-disciplinary collaboration,  it is certainly the one I enjoyed most. Thinking back, I think this is due to the fact that the paper was truly a collaborative effort: while it certainly has more abstract and theoretical sections, and more applied and case-based sections, these are the product of shared work, with both of us (well, I at least!) learning a lot in the process.

The article is free to access here until October 14th, 2017.

Image result for british journal of political scienceAbstract: Donor governments face a dilemma when providing development aid to states that violate human rights. While aid may contribute to positive development outcomes, it may also contribute to rights violations committed by these regimes. This article provides a conceptual framework for donors to address this dilemma in a normatively justified way. Drawing on recent methodological advancements in normative political theory, it develops a distinctively political framework of dilemmas, suggesting three models: complicitydouble effect and dirty hands. It considers this framework in the context of development aid, discussing the relevant considerations for donors in different cases. The article demonstrates that an approach to development assistance that acknowledges political realities does not have to be normatively silent.

Published: ‘Pro Mundo Mori? The Problem of Cosmopolitan Motivation in War’ in Ethics & International Affairs

My doctoral project on the motivational critique of cosmopolitanism dealt primarily with questions of social justice. However, in 2016, preparing a paper for conference on cosmopolitanism and patriotism in democratic armies, I was prompted to think about analogies  between the problem of motivation in cosmopolitan justice and the problem of motivation in cosmopolitan wars – specifically, armed humanitarian interventions. The result is now published in Ethics & International Affairs.

This is my first foray into the ethics of war, and I enjoyed writing it quite a bit. There are many questions still left open here, and I hope to be able to address them one day!

Image result for ethics and international affairsAbstract: This article presents a new understanding of the problem of cosmopolitan motivation in war, comparing it to the motivational critique of social justice cosmopolitanism. The problem of cosmopolitanism’s “motivational gap” is best interpreted as a political one, not a meta-ethical or ethical one. That is, the salient issue is not whether an individual soldier is able to be motivated by cosmopolitan concerns, nor is it whether being motivated by cosmopolitanism would be too demanding. Rather, given considerations of legitimacy in the use of political power, a democratic army has to be able to motivate its soldiers to take on the necessary risks without relying on coercion alone. Patriotic identification offers a way to achieve this in wars of national defense, but less so in armed humanitarian interventions (AHIs). Two potential implications are that either AHIs should be privatized or that national armies should be transformed to become more cosmopolitan.


Interview with Prof. Mark Philp (University of Warwick) on Realism and the History of Political Thought

On 9 May 2017, Steven Klein and I interviewed Prof. Mark Philp  on his academic journey, realism in political theory, and the history of political thought, in anticipation of the Max Weber Lecture he gave the following day titled ‘The corruption of politics’ (which you can watch here).

Upcoming Talks and Events (Rome, Florence, Oxford)

Rome, 15th-18th March, 2017: I will be presenting, along with Cécile Laborde, our co-authored paper ‘Cosmopolitan Patriotism as a Civic Ideal’ at a workshop on cosmopolitanism and national identity, organised by Robert Audi of the Australian Catholic University. Other speakers include, among others, Onora O’Neill (Cambridge), Rainer Forst (Frankfurt), Philip Pettit (Princeton/ANU) and John Tasioulas (KCL)

Florence, 2nd May, 2017: I will be discussing with Chaim Gans (Tel Aviv University) his recent book, A Political Theory for the Jewish People (Oxford University Press, 2016). See the event details here.

Oxford, 20th-21st June, 2017: I will be taking part in a workshop at Nuffield College, Oxford on ‘Liberal Nationalism and Its Critics: Normative and Empirical Questions’, organised by Gina Gustavsson and David Miller.