HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs and Philosophy


The author’s 2012 book On Global Justice argues that the standpoint of humanity’s collective ownership of the earth should be central to reflection on the permissibility of immigration. This standpoint is defended here. A number of political philosophers (Michael Blake, Christopher Wellman, David Miller and others) have recently offered accounts of immigration that tried to do without the kind of global standpoint provided by humanity’s collective ownership of the earth. All these attempts fail, and fail because they do not integrate a global standpoint. It has been objected to the author’s account that any given generation should be regarded as inheriting both the natural and the societal wealth of humanity. This standpoint is refuted here. We will also engage with Avery Kolers’ intriguing approach to territory in terms of ethnogeographic communities.


Risse, Mathias. "On the Significance of Humanity’s Collective Ownership of the Earth for Immigration." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP14-009, February 2014.