Thursday, October 15, 2009

Looting and distributive justice

Interesting op-ed article in the New York Times earlier this week: "To Catch a Looter". Roger Atwood points out that it is easier (and cheaper) than one might think to prevent the looting and illegal export of historical treasures. Successfully keeping such treasures in their original location makes possible archeological tourism, which can greatly benefit the development and living standard of local populations.

One could argue, therefore, that the prevention of looting qualifies as a policy that can be supported on grounds of international distributive justice, not just out of an interest in art history and archeology. Local authorities might play up this added moral justification as a way to increase their ability to attract external funding for the protection of their own heritage.

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