Cosmopolitanism is the best ideology for providing foreign aid. Political views leading to Nationalism and Patriotism hinder foreign aid.


Andrew Douglas Graham




Submitted for The Open University

Master of Arts in Philosophy Degree


September 2021


Work is entirely my own.


10282 words



















Millions of children across the globe die of easily preventable disease every year, the majority of the world’s population live in poverty struggling every day to find food, water and shelter. A very small percentage of the world’s population have plenty; food in abundance, lavish houses, travel and live a life never wanting for anything. Guarding what they have against any incomers or others who do not meet their peer group definitions. Developed countries have vast people living in poverty, accommodation and food are problems for many people. This makes one wonder why the current system for providing help is flawed. Capitalism, Socialism and Nationalism are failing to provide global justice, an alternative is needed. Richer countries donate millions in aid to both their own populations and for foreign aid, is this enough, is it managed well, does it reach the people who need it; or can the poverty and suffering be ignored because it is far away, out of sight out of mind? Countries signed up to make 0.7% of GDP available for foreign aid but few got to this level and countries are now reducing how much they pay for aid; the targets are ignored. Corruption, war, cheque-book diplomacy and nationalism are all spreading throughout the globe. Nationalism and Patriotism are two words that many people think have the same meaning. There are many important differences, and these differences are explored in relation to how they pertain to foreign aid. If we could persuade our governments to think just a little differently, even a small change would make huge advances towards eliminating world hunger and disease, and provide suitable accommodation and access to opportunity, wherever in the world we are born. Not a regime or change to political systems, but just an ideology that we can all live by, instead of being suspicious of others, embrace and learn. This paper will argue that cosmopolitanism is the best ideology for providing foreign aid.




























Introduction Page 4


Chapter 1 Cosmopolitanism and Political views. Page 4


Chapter 2 Should we give foreign aid? Page 10


Chapter 3 Cosmopolitanism. Page 15


Chapter 4 Political view; Nationalism and Patriotism. Page 20


Conclusion Page 26


Bibliography Page 27

























Cosmopolitanism is the best ideology for providing foreign aid. Political views leading to Nationalism and Patriotism hinder foreign aid.




This thesis will examine two different views and relate them to provision of global justice and foreign aid. The Cosmopolitan view and the Political view. The political view will be shown to have two parts, nationalism and patriotism. I will show that cosmopolitan ideas are by far the best for providing foreign aid, and although patriotism is more desirable than nationalism it still does not come close to cosmopolitism ideas for providing aid.


Cosmopolitans ignore nationalism, focusing on international organizations and regimes that may erode the sovereignty of nation-states and reorient their identities and interests away from the nation and focus to other cultures in order to learn and help. This makes cosmopolitanism more able to provide aid than the Political views of Nationalism and Patriotism. Four chapters will explore global justice and foreign aid. Chapter 1 starts with an explanation of the cosmopolitan and political views. Chapter 2 asks if we should give foreign aid at all and how each ideology’s flaws hinder the movement of aid. The chapter gives a brief history of foreign aid and introduces humanitarian and development aid. Then explains why and how we provide aid. Chapter 3 explains Cosmopolitanism in detail and how as an ideology it makes the giving and distributing of aid to anyone who needs it, wherever they, understandable and explainable. Chapter 4 explains how the political view is split between nationalism and patriotism and the important differences. How patriotism is being proud of what a country does, and Nationalism being proud of whatever the country does. I conclude with stating that although patriotism is preferred to nationalism neither can come close to cosmopolitan ideology for providing foreign aid.


1 Cosmopolitanism and Political views.


In this opening chapter I will introduce and explain Cosmopolitan and Political views and why they are important to global justice and providing foreign aid.


Global justice is an issue about fairness. Richer nations have an obligation to help poorer nations, so that everyone in the world can improve their standards of living to an acceptable level. Human nature and instinct are to help those in need and suffering.


In order to discuss aid and how it is distributed there are two views which are important and how we think about global justice. Both have their pros and cons, and the differences are important in how we try to achieve global justice.


The political view sees nation-states working independently or with others through agreements to provide aid to the needy on behalf of their populace. This view has two sub-categories, Nationalist and Patriotic. Cosmopolitanism is a view that nation-states are less important than the needs of the individuals themselves who may need help to reach a reasonable standard of living.


The Political view is closely related to groups, and this leads to seeing global justice as not important as the local smaller group takes priority. When small groups expand and make ties with other small groups they form into a nation-state with a government. Nation-states mostly work independently to provide aid to the needy. Cosmopolitanism is the view that all the people of the world deserve to be treated with equal rights especially with regards to basic human rights, food, water, sanitation, shelter, health and education. The cosmopolitan view has global justice as most important. We have a combination of both views in relation to aid at present in that governments provide aid to poorer nations and people also donate voluntarily their time and/or money additionally if they are so inclined.


The responsibility for the hungry around the world can be down to either states or individuals. A government helping the world's impoverished and paid by taxation, or individuals helping by donating to charity or volunteer work. Only trusted governments can put in measures to ensure aid gets where it is intended to go because a charity working alone can do little if the aid is diverted in a receiving country. A worldwide organization would be needed to control, and this is an argument against letting nation-states be responsible for aid as a state’s government will look after its own people first and will dictate where any aid goes putting its own interests first rather than the needy of other states.


John Rawls (1921–2002) was an American philosopher who in 1993 published The Law of Peoples thought to be one of the most important political philosophical writings of modern times. He added to it later in 1993 and revised it in 1999. Rawls gives reasons for individual states being independent and is against a world government or global state preferring independent states working together through pacts and agreements. He says that local regions would fight for their autonomy and nation-states are necessary for political reasons; people care about and will work to advance their own local political needs to a common good. Rawls says ‘…fault in those societies lay in their political traditions and the background institutions of law, property, and class structure, with their sustaining beliefs and culture.’ (Rawls, 1993). Rawls is saying here that the problems a country has with poverty is more to do with the political culture than natural disasters, even if the political decisions were taken many years in the past. Rawls set out eight principles for a conception of justice that all states, could follow to allow for peaceful co-existence. The eight principles are;


1 Peoples (as organized by their government) are free and independent, and their freedom and independence are to be respected by other peoples.

2 Peoples are equal and parties to their own agreements.

3 Peoples have the right of self-defence but no right to war.

4 Peoples are to observe a duty of non-intervention.

5 Peoples are to observe treaties and undertakings.

6 Peoples are to observe certain specified restrictions on the conduct of war (assumed to be in self-defence).

7 Peoples are to honour human rights.

8 Peoples have a duty to assist other peoples living under unfavourable conditions that prevent their having a just or decent political and social regime. (Rawls, 1999).


Rawls says that the word 'peoples' means ‘the actors in the Society of Peoples’ (Rawls, 1993). They share features such as a common system of government and moral nature. Although the Law of Peoples is meant for liberal systems, the peoples Rawls talks about are not necessarily liberal states. 'Decent hierarchical peoples' such as authoritarian or religious countries also can follow the principles, though 'burdened societies', 'outlaw states' and 'benevolent absolutisms' do not.  'Decent hierarchical peoples' can be non-liberal, but well-ordered states, those that have tolerance which Rawls sees as important for any nation. The Law of Peoples can be seen as an attempt to show how far international cooperation and toleration can go and these principles can be used to help in times of disasters when people need help. All peoples have a duty to assist other peoples.


Philosopher Thomas Nagel calls Liberal Nationalism the political view. Nagel studied under John Rawls in Harvard in the early 1960s. Nagel discusses Thomas Hobbes’ book Leviathan in which Hobbes argues that a ruling body for enforcing laws is needed for justice to exist. Without a ruling body then justice will not exist in practise leading to no rules or any systematic working. Nagel says that ‘some form of humane assistance from the well off to those in extremis is clearly called for quite apart from the demand for justice’. He says we should look at richer nations helping the needier nations in a humanitarian sense as justice, rather than aid. He makes a point of distinguishing between political and cosmopolitan in that political is more institutionalised or dependent on groups and cosmopolitan is more individual. (Nagel, 2005).


Nagel defines cosmopolitanism as ‘an equal concern or a duty of fairness that we owe in principle to all our fellow human beings’. (Nagel, 2005). Random factors should not guide the way we treat people from other places in the world, and a nation-state can be seen as an obstacle to global justice because each nation will look after its own people first and they might have reservations against others for several reasons; historic, political, culture, religion or race.


Nagel says


We do not deserve to have been born into a particular society any more than we deserve to have been born into a particular family. Those who are not immigrants have done nothing to become members of their society. (Nagel, 2005).


This is a powerful statement for integration and migration. We should not deny or put-up obstacles to people who try to enter a country to be given help, they should be allowed to enter and be welcomed. Those who are born into a specific society have no advantage over those who are not. We want to contribute to the society we choose to live in and to expand its prosperity, looking to the future rather than the past.


Family groups and small local groups become attached and have special obligations from the members. We provide many services for the people of our own country and these obligations come before any obligation to others outside the group, or country. An example of this is that we give social security benefits to our fellow citizens but not to those in other countries, wherever they may be in the world. The groups increase in size and become a country and then grew to a group of countries as deals and agreements where made. Groups of states could be governed by a world government or an organisation of such size to overrule individual countries to enable work towards a common good, otherwise local priorities and obligations prevail. Special obligations are seen to exist over and above our obligation to help those outside our group and these obligations can hinder any collective attempt to provide aid to other states. Cosmopolitanism accepts that individuals can work together no matter where they are from or what groups they are members of, and this could be promoted from within each state.


Samuel Scheffler wrote of problems with the political view in that the special responsibilities to the groups can give advantages and obligations that are often unjustified. People concentrate on their own groups rather than think about people who are not part of that group. People who are members of these groups and have a special responsibility to those groups to the detriment of needier groups of people. He gives what he calls ‘the distributive objection’;


 …such responsibilities confer additional advantages on people who have already benefited from participating in rewarding groups and relationships and that this is unjustifiable whenever the provision of these additional advantages works to the detriment of those who are needier… (Scheffler, 2002).


This is the distributive objection and is how Scheffler argues that a political system is not beneficial to the cosmopolitan view due to the groups within the system having loyalties to their groups as opposed to those people who have greater need but are not members of their groups.


Global justice and foreign aid are not absent from a political view. Global justice can be low down in priority because decisions on global justice are left to the leaders in government who will prioritize local issues. Problems such as receiving countries having aid diverted away from those who need it can be eradicated by having a strong system in place to make sure the aid gets to where it is meant to be. People will gather and support their small groups. Where they are born, or where they migrate to becomes a matter of pride and they will attempt to advance their groups over others. Rivalries will be prevalent, and it is difficult to get these groups to work together. The United Nations and World Health Organisation are examples of global attempts to unite countries under one umbrella.


If a famine is considered a failure of the political set up in a state rather than a natural disaster, then a state needs to politically fix things rather than rely on rich countries providing aid. If the whole world tried to stop famine instead of individual countries, then we would need worldwide organisations that could override the individual states decisions. There are many different cultural and political states, religious, hierarchal, liberal, and it is difficult to get them all to agree to an organisation that would override their decisions to relieve famine or other disasters. The United Nations and World Health Organisation are such organisations.


David Miller says we have obligations to fellow countrymen in his 1995 book On Nationality. He says that countries are ‘ethical communities’ and that


In acknowledging a national identity, I am also acknowledging that I owe special obligations to fellow members of my nation which I do not owe to other human beings.’ (Miller, 1995).


This leads on from the special obligations we have to our family members and hints that a group acting is better than individuals acting alone. We all have special obligations to our small groups that take priority over any obligation we have to others. Moral issues, families and obligations to local groups create special obligations and people will concentrate on these rather than global considerations this leads to people justifying the gap between domestic and global justice.


Thomas Pogge relates an issue of local to global justice in commenting about negative duties (to help) and positive duties (not to harm). Residents of your own town living with basic human rights while the rest of the country lived in luxury and how this would be an obvious injustice, the town would see the local people having a need and the rest of the country would come together to help as one. But this becomes less likely as distance increases.


    Suppose we discovered people on Venus who are very badly off and suppose we could help them at little cost to ourselves. If we did nothing, we should surely violate a positive duty of beneficence. But we should not be violating a negative duty of justice, because we would not be contributing to the perpetuation of their misery. (Pogge, 2008)


The political view sees it as in some way different and not an injustice when the needy are far away. Domestic and global justice are seen as two separate issues and the domestic issues take precedence. With cosmopolitanism all should be treated the same whether local or many miles away in another country.


Charles Beitz criticises Rawls and Nagel in a response to Rawls’ Law of Peoples. He looks at who should work out a system for global justice, individuals or states, and the duties we might have to assist peoples in states other than our own. Beitz thinks we should be looking at what should be done rather than what can be done, an ideal rather than a pragmatic approach. Formal governments are needed to maintain institutions to manage resources. People together rather than individuals should bear responsibility for global justice. Rawls thinks that what underpins our duty to the people of other states is to assist them so that they can sort themselves into a well-ordered state. Beitz, by contrast, thinks that our duties go deeper. He thinks international actions should be to help states become better-ordered societies rather than help individuals.


Beitz challenges two of Rawls’ claims. 1 Giving priority to local needs leads to global inequality, which brings problems about how to make any changes required to carry out any principles of international justice. We are more interested in what those principles should be and there is difficulty in knowing what is happening in other states. 2 That the cosmopolitan distribution principle where everyone throughout the world receives the same benefit from growth and equal distribution of material goods; is unfair to those peoples that have managed their affairs responsibly and benefit those who waste their resources and do not plan. Beitz argues that is unfair to blame the current generation for the mistakes made by past generations. Peoples shouldn't be held responsible for the past errors of their state but are ‘the innocent victims of the past choices of others rather than…the authors of those choices’ themselves’. (Beitz, 2000). Inequalities can be stopped from being carried from domestic to international spheres, individual responses to internal politics would not be to the detriment of the poorer members of states.


To conclude this chapter, I have said that all people should have proper life chances and basic human rights wherever they are born or whatever culture they are born into. These are pre-political rights; everyone should have these before a state can be made to govern and cosmopolitans encourage this. I have introduced and explained the cosmopolitan and political views and how they are important to providing aid.


The political view is where small groups of people form into groups and elect leaders. And the cosmopolitan view is that the people of the whole world should be treated the same and place of birth should not matter. The richer peoples should aid the poorer peoples to increase their quality of life to try and give us all the same standards of living.


Cosmopolitan view is the best view for foreign aid, political views are too local, inward looking, complicated and uncooperative; foreign aid comes low down on the list of priorities.


2 Should we give foreign aid?


This chapter will introduce historical context, Humanitarian and Development aid then discuss why aid is given and how it is used.


Aid is resources given from one country to another and could include food, military equipment, training or medical supplies. Aid is often given in the form of a cash loan or grant by governments. Aid is also provided by non-government-organizations. Organizations and individuals in richer countries help people in less well-off countries. Individual charities from wealthier countries can provide aid targeted to a particular need. These charities often have funding from government.


Historic colonial past and political alliances are major influences of where foreign aid goes to. We can call foreign aid compensatory justice or repatriations which alludes to the history of European powers and the exploitation and colonization of most of the world. These powers, took natural resources, exploited foreign people, propped up corrupt regimes, and funded dictators and warlords around the globe, for their own gain. Even today the damage caused by pollution leading to desertification and health problems in poorer countries is caused by the wealthier developed countries.


Foreign aid started with colonialism and imperialism. The ruling country would put money and resources into their colonized country in order to benefit themselves, they treated the conquered country as their own. When independence came, the newly independent country would see aid as a right, as payment for exploitation.


Colonialism and imperialism are not the only reasons for aid to flow. Reacting to natural disasters or military conflict will mean humanitarian aid is given. If a natural disaster such as an earthquake strikes a country, short-term humanitarian aid is needed immediately. This includes the delivery of food and water, the provision of temporary shelter, as well as health services.


The historical context is one way of accepting that aid should flow from the wealthier to the poorer parts of the world. It would be almost impossible to use the gains of a country due to one sided historical and present-day issues to make payments or provide aid.  A fairer way is to use a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, as a measure of how much money is provided for aid to poorer countries. A country is determined to be rich or poor by referencing its GDP. Using a percentage of GDP removes the feelings of guilt or punishment that trying to measure the results of historic exploitation creates.


Aid must go to countries who are not only in a poor position due to developed powers’ actions but also due to its own mistakes or mismanagement that can cause natural disasters and conflict. Humanitarian principles dictate that those who need help should get it from those who can afford to help. Humanitarian principles are stated by the UN as Humanity, Neutrality, Impartiality and Independence (unocha, 2012). The principles are concerned with saving lives and alleviating suffering while maintaining dignity and independence. Cosmopolitanism applies this to all and ignore borders; everyone has a right to basic human needs such as shelter, food, health, jobs, education and opportunities no matter where they are born. If we do not lift people out of poverty it could easily lead to economic issues, terrorism, war, instability, and mass hunger or disease, all of this through missed opportunities which could be easily prevented.


Humanitarian aid and Development aid are two different kinds of help provided by wealthier countries to those in need. Humanitarian aid can go to anyone in the world whatever the political system is, it saves lives and aims to alleviate suffering during a disaster and in the immediate aftermath. Humanitarian aid goes right into the heart of the community affected and offers an immediate solution to food, accommodation and medical problems. If a natural disaster such as an earthquake strikes a country, or as a result of conflict, short-term humanitarian aid is needed immediately. This will provide immediate provision of food and water, temporary shelter and health services to save lives.


Immediate humanitarian aid does not always have to move on to development aid which provides prevention instead of cure. Development aid helps the government rather than the community directly. Helping infrastructure and systematic poverty that may slow down economic social and institutional advancement. Development aid helps to ensure stronger communities and enables long term improvement to life and preventing future disasters.


Development aid is long term and responds to systemic problems focusing on economic and social development for a state to become self-governing and stable with economic advancement. 


Both Humanitarian and Development aid can work together, and the aim is the long-term development into an effective society that can participate successfully in global society. Development aid can exist without Humanitarian aid and Humanitarian aid without Development aid.


It is in developed countries self-interest to give foreign aid. Foreign aid has benefits for both the donating country as well as the receiving country; creating jobs and aiding national security. Enhancing diplomatic relations between the countries leads to many benefits to both sides; trade deals and movement of people are more likely to be easier if ties are made when in need of help. The recipient country could be asked to move to a more democratic system, dictators or tyrants could be removed and more peaceful and constructive relationships with the global community developed which would benefit everyone.


In the interests of national security, places in poverty with hunger, disease, warfare, instability, economic problems, lack of shelter and medicines are a breeding ground for terrorism. Lifting people out of poverty and giving opportunity helps in the fight against terrorism.


The UN has reported that the majority of the world’s population lives in areas at risk of natural disasters, and this is expected to increase as population increases and space to live becomes a premium as more people move into cities that are already overpopulated (UN, 2018). So, it becomes more important that governments honour their commitment to giving 0.7% of their GDP as aid.


In the summer of 2021, the UK government voted to reduce the amount spent on foreign aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP. Letters in the press say we should not make any foreign aid at all, and polls have reported that majority of respondents wanted a reduction in the aid budget. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to go ahead with cuts, saying that ‘helping the world's poorest is one of the great moral and ethical achievements of our country’ (BBC, 2021). The reduction goes against a manifesto promise and an agreement with the UN made with 30 other wealthy countries in 1970 to give 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product as foreign aid, of which only 7 countries have met the target and UK only met it in 2015. The UK increasing rather than decreasing aid would encourage other states to provide the same amount of aid, reducing it sends the wrong message. Most countries do not meet the 0.7% obligation, only fourteen countries have met the obligation since 1960 and USA, Australia and Japan have never met the target (Parliament brief, 2021). At home, aid such as benefits are also regularly attacked. There is ongoing political opposition to any aid. The argument is that the problems of poverty and inequality are being fuelled by conflict, corruption and political instability and that this makes foreign aid worthless. Foreign aid is said to have made no difference so why carry on? The UK should not be helping people overseas while cutting services at home. Another view is that if a country has a large military budget, then aid should not be given, the country should look after its own before spending on arms. But aid should not interfere in a country’s internal affairs and should go to help those in need, that is the priority.


A podcast discussion from the London School of Economics has objections to aid


The UK spends a generous 0.7% of its Gross National Income on overseas development aid each year managed by its Department for International Development, or DFID. DFID’s website boasts that its work is building a safer, healthier and more prosperous world, not just for people in developing countries but also those in the UK. Despite this noble sentiment, not everyone supports the concept of aid, complaining that it’s too costly, that it aids corruption or that it is just another way for governments in developed countries to meddle in other nations’ affairs. (Akello, Al-Akhali, Green and Jablonski, 2021).


The majority of the UK’s aid goes to Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Syria, Bangladesh, Somalia, South Sudan as well as international work to defeat illnesses. It provides water sanitation, hygiene products, food and medicine. The UK’s foreign aid policy is defined to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries. The foreign aid budget was enacted into law as the 2015 International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act, which obliged the government to meet the 0.7% target in 2022. The government is saying that the reduction is only temporary until the economy recovers after the COVID-19 pandemic.


Both governments and NGO’s provide aid, and it can be said that the only reason charities exist is because governments fail in their obligations, and it is a means for aid to get through without government interference. A country could see aid as an attempt by foreign powers to gain unwanted ties and influence in their internal affairs.


When the cold war came along in the 1950’s and 60’s, opposing countries would try to get developing countries on their side. Infrastructure would be financed by different countries, even the same road could have different sections paid for by aid from different countries.


Military aid can be seen as a case of dirty hands, doing wrong to do right. It is used in many instances where the government will ask for military aid either to attack armed groups who are terrorising the people or to help infrastructure to move aid to people who need it. The military has the skills, equipment and manpower to enable aid of any kind to be quickly put into place. People do not welcome foreign military so it can only be used in carefully planned circumstances. An exit strategy needs to be made before the military goes in as foreign military may well become a target to unite the people of the country against.


Aid given from a wealthier or stronger country is a mark of the peoples’ generosity and helps address the difference in wealth between developed and developing countries and most importantly help save lives. With over 50% of the world’s population living on less than $2 a day and thousands of children dying every day through easily preventable diseases such as diarrhoea, aid is vital to stop these deaths.


The world is a very wealthy place, but the wealth is in the hands of a very few people and vast poverty exists in a large proportion of the world’s population. Migration and travel are only affordable by the rich of the world and only the rich have access to acceptable methods of travel. The people who need to travel to improve their lives are denied access to acceptable forms of travel. Governments take military action to stop migrant travel, these include border checks and military intervention to force migrants to stop travelling. They have to take risky forms of travel putting their lives at risk to migrate to wealthier, safer countries.


Foreign aid does not have to go through governments, private charities exist to provide targeted aid for a specific need or a particular need or age group. Individuals can make their choices on which cause to support and on how to support.


The World bank is involved in providing aid. It provides low interest loans and grants to countries to aid infrastructure, help to increase economic growth and improve the living conditions of those in poverty. Money is also given directly to the sectors of education, water, sanitation, agriculture and infrastructure without government involvement.


A Cosmopolitan view removes the questions that arise with whether we should or should not give foreign aid, everyone is entitled to basic human rights and improvement. A Political view will look after its own within own borders first, any foreign interest will only come with an advantage to themselves.


Aid should not be needed as local taxes should be in place to benefit local people. But bad government, war and natural disasters mean aid is needed. The cosmopolitan view is the best way to think about providing foreign aid.


3 Cosmopolitanism


Cosmopolitan comes from the Greek word kosmopolitēs (‘citizen of the world’). Cosmopolitanism is an ideology that all people in the world are born with equal rights to food, shelter, health care, education and opportunities. In this chapter I will show that cosmopolitanism has many advantages over a political view with regards to global justice and this will be shown to be the best way to provide foreign aid and ease world poverty.


Cosmopolitanism is an ideology where differences are recognised and understood in a compassionate way so as we all learn from each other and progress in an understanding and mutually beneficial way. Learning from others and embracing, understanding and diverse instead of all becoming the same. Cosmopolitanism is rooted in equal respect and dignity of all people and cultures. People come together from different parts of the world, and they can pursue their own cultures and differences. Cosmopolitanism encourages this diversity, tolerance and understanding of these differences.


There are many advantages to a cosmopolitan ideology. Cosmopolitanism acknowledges a need to recognize and act on an individual’s membership in a global community of human beings, we all have responsibilities to other members of the global community. ‘The borders of states only restrict the justice and are obstacles to obligations to others in the global community……’ (Brock, G. (2015)’. Cosmopolitanism brings individuals out from local obligations to obligations to distant people.


Cosmopolitanism ignores radicalism and extremism because everyone is equal wherever they are born, whatever religion, race or sexuality, no one is worse off, so there is no need for radicalism and extremism as there is nothing to be jealous of. Radicalism and extremism are hated everywhere. Nationalists, radicals and extremists suffer themselves because of their ideas and actions, and do not have a happy life. Hatred makes them angry and liable to attack. Political repression worsens people’s lives, and radicals are always the first victims of every government. Cosmopolitans are not blindingly attached to any country, radical ideology or movement, do nothing to annoy governments and avoid bad outcomes. Therefore, they have a happier life.


Cosmopolitanism ideas would stop the evil deeds of mass murderers. Hitler, Mao Zedong, Rwandan genocide, repression of millions by Stalin, North Korea, all these started from crazy and ridiculous ideas that preoccupied the leaders’ minds and led to huge disaster. Being equally kind and merciful to every person in the world would not divide people into groups, good or bad for any reasons. Cosmopolitanism helps spread advancement and mercy not hatred, inviting peace and love, instead of aggression and hatred, this makes for a more open-minded and happier person. Cosmopolitanism resembles socialism in that socialist governments make no difference between races, sex or nationality. Cosmopolitans are free from crazy ideologies and so are open to new knowledge and experiences.


Insead’s Linda Brimm has identified five characteristics of a Global Cosmopolitan lifestyle.  These are:


1 Global Cosmopolitans see change as normal.

2 As outsiders to fixed cultural rules, they rely on creative thinking.

3 They reinvent themselves and experiment with new identities.

4 They are expert at the subtle and emotional aspects of transition.

5 They easily learn and use new ways of thinking.

(Brimm, 2018)


These are all skills that can influence our rapidly changing dangerous world. Encouraging communication through travel and people and accepting each other as equals and open to new ideas. A more outward thinking or travelled person can learn and become more knowledgeable of others way of life than one who does not see things at first hand. Intellectual and spiritual advances are easier when learning about different environments by observing. Learning and promoting diverse cultures and political systems mean people are free to prosper and advance


Cosmopolitan history although tracing its roots back to Ancient Greece, has come to prominence since World War Two.


Immediately after the Paris terrorist bombing in 2015 two international football teams, France and Germany, were playing and came together to help shelter each other in the stadium from the threats outside. Such camaraderie between French and German athletes would never have happened until cosmopolitanism came to the fore in the second half of the 20th century. Neither the freedoms we have enjoyed for decades, nor the way of life we enjoy would have happened if the world hadn’t embraced cosmopolitanism in the aftermath of World War Two and encouraged it amongst the next generation.


In the second half of the twentieth century people scarred by the wars, death and destruction that inward thinking nationalism had created began a new way of thinking.


The survivors of the horrors of WW2 had a seemingly impossible dream, that people of different nations could live in peace and harmony. This set-in motion a path to make a society more open, internationalist and understanding of different culture for their children. Cosmopolitanism began to take over from Nationalism.


At the end of WW2 when Europe was liberated, kindness shown by the victorious Allied armies to the local populations left a lasting image on most of the people. Parents before this rarely travelled and would spend their lives in one place, but after seeing the kindness of the liberators they encouraged their children to learn foreign languages, travel, live and learn in other countries.


The next generation was encouraged to travel and learn. Many youngsters from all over Europe would travel to UK or other English-speaking countries to learn the language and culture.


Big cities all over the world began filling up with first-generation cosmopolitans. People from areas destroyed by war flocked to places that promised prosperity and opportunity. There would be curious invaders of each other’s countries. A peaceful army sent to dismantle the hatred caused from nationalism by the previous generation who’d suffered so much death and destruction under the spread of nationalism. The parents would see the travel as insurance against future wars and an aspiration for the younger generations to learn other cultures and enjoy life in peace. If they knew, learnt, dined, drank, entertained with others in different countries they would be less likely to go to war, bomb and kill each other.


Locals and cosmopolitans can be found all over the world with locals having strong allegiance to their local area, cosmopolitans being more outward looking and seeking knowledge and expertise of other peoples. The locals cannot imagine living anywhere else and accept the cosmopolitans who are always preparing to seek out new ways of life.


Cosmopolitans have become a group of people who don’t believe in groups. An individual based group connected by unlimited internet access, trains and cheap airfares. They can be found in cities and become settled in places tolerant of their thoughts, coffee shops, universities, and multinational corporations that let them live the lifestyle and make a living as they travel around. Cosmopolitanism rejects attempts to be put into groups and once a group of cosmopolitans come together then the ideology becomes unstable. If we let cosmopolitanism become too unstable and move away from the core ideas, we will have betrayed the dreams and wasted the work of two generations.


Cosmopolitanism is important at a global scale. The world has a lot to offer, what one area lacks another is in abundance. Governments have failed to grasp globalisation, concentrating on inward looking nationalist ideas; but business has seized on this cosmopolitan idea.


Trade takes place all over the world. Fruit and vegetables are available all year round all over the world. A car can have the engine built in one part of the world, the body built, painted, assembly all done in different country’s then transported to another country for sale. This maximises profit and gives economic advancement and benefits to a wide range of countries instead of just one. Trade between countries is encouraged as this brings benefits to both, the country buying puts money into the supplying country which then buys from others.


The American philosopher Martha Nussbaum argued in Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism that we owe allegiance ‘to the worldwide community of human beings,’ and that affiliation should be our number one loyalty and commitment. The highest obligations are to fellow human beings, no matter where they are in the world, and we have special relations to those close to us. Diogenes the Cynic said he was a citizen of the world, meaning he refused to be defined by local groups which was conventional Greek thinking. The Stoics followed his lead arguing that everyone of us lives in two communities, the local and humankind. The stoics where not against local governments or local identities but said the first important considerations was to humankind wherever they were born. (Nussbaum, 1996)


When globalization took off, cosmopolitans were ready and able to help. They had the mindset and skills needed to deal with and profit from the opening of global markets. Cosmopolitan enthusiasm was redirected from a humanistic project to an economic one through business. If most political leaders found removing borders and barriers hard or even impossible to do, it was very easy for business leaders to ignore these barriers in their hunt for profit. Cosmopolitanism led and embraced globalization, setting out to turn the world into one big friendly intermingled society, working and trading together, and using this to help provide foreign aid to ease poverty and hunger. The business network and practises would help in the movement of aid to where it was needed from where it is abundant. International trade benefits all sides, the buyer gets goods at the best price, the seller gets the income that increases their economy and then they become the buyer, roles are constantly reversed, buyer becoming seller and seller becoming buyer. As wealth increases so the need for foreign aid becomes less. While they might sound similar, cosmopolitanism is not the same as globalization. Cosmopolitanism is personal, globalization a relentless business and political led socio-economic force. Cosmopolitanism strives to humanize the differences in the world, globalization seeks to use these differences to join and make one community with the aim being either political or economic. The challenge is to stop globalization being only about creating wealth and to encourage foreign aid. In order to keep diversity and lifting people out of poverty focus on using the infrastructure and contacts made by businesses trading to enable easier and more fluid movement of aid.


Organizations that bring together states are the United Nations and World Health Organization. 194 countries are members of the World Health Organization, and they have a commitment to a detailed human rights agreement. The WHO Constitution (1946) gives a commitment to


…the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being…Understanding health as a human right creates a legal obligation on states to ensure access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality as well as to providing for the underlying determinants of health, such as safe and potable water, sanitation, food, housing, health-related information and education, and gender equality.’ (WHO, 2017)


Agreements are signed with United Nations and World Health Organization on behalf of the individuals in states and so the people of the state are committed to the agreements through their governments.


Cosmopolitanism promotes a global democracy of individual states and ethnic groups, where all people should be able to take part in decision-making. This does not have to lead to a world government, but to different cultures and peoples living in their own communities and working in a more tolerant and understanding way to each other.


‘…all human beings, regardless of their political affiliation, are (or can and should be) citizens in a single community.’ community among all human beings, regardless of social and political affiliation. Difficult to change the current system of states, but the UN is an example of a world organisation (Kleingeld, and Brown, 2019)


A right to good health starts with and is dependent on access to clean drinking water, food, shelter and medicine and as states have signed up to the WHO agreement then they are obliged to ensure these needs are met to all in the world not just their own country’s inhabitants. These are best achieved by the advantage’s cosmopolitanism offers.


Attacks on cosmopolitanism come from those discontent with globalization and who have resentment to minorities, immigrants and intellectuals. There is a rise of nationalism taking place in the last few years around the world. In Europe and the United States movements are appearing such as alt-right pushing extremist propaganda, racism and xenophobia into the mainstream. Cosmopolitans are being portrayed as detached and elitist. Migration is discouraged, when it should be encouraged in order to meet the needs of each side, workers are needed in different parts of the world at different times and movement of people across borders satisfies this. Nationalism discourages integration and movement of people to other countries, an inward-looking view.


A person who is influenced by a variety of cultures, worldly and well-travelled is more understanding of others’ needs. Staying in one place and holding onto inward thinking is not essential in the formation or upkeep of one’s identity. An individual can pick and choose from a wide range of cultural views or reject all in favour of another noncultural option. Cosmopolitanism is more open and accepting.


The alternative to cosmopolitanism is the political view, which has two important parts; nationalist and patriotic, this view has few if any advantages over cosmopolitanism.


4 Political view; Nationalism and Patriotism


Nationalism sweeping through the globe can be seen as a rejection of globalization. Loss of jobs to cheaper labour in other parts of the world, migration and the threat that it poses to local social hierarchies. Nationalism is a way for those hurt by the cultural and economic blows of globalization to fight back.


Nationalism is the most common ideology people think of when mentioning the political view. Cosmopolitanism is outward looking and open to learn from other cultures. Nationalism is the opposite, inward looking and only aims to advance its own people within its borders. Strongly believing in self-determination and no interference from outside.


In a Nationalist state the leaders will make and implement foreign policy on behalf of the citizens. These leaders come from different backgrounds including political parties, interest groups, civil society organizations, and individual decision makers (e.g., presidents, politicians, lawmakers). They can construct a national identity in order to achieve goals, such as strategic and economic needs to advance the nation and become stronger and more prosperous. States may adopt foreign policies that seem irrational but are consistent with a purported national character.


Nationalism has many different agendas that can vary significantly between countries. Within the same country the aims and goals can vary over time. There is little to unite different nationalist countries except agreement that there should be no outside interference.


In the entry entitled Nationalism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Croatian philosopher Nenad Miscevic gives a description of Nationalism as;


…defined in terms of common origin, ethnicity, or cultural ties, and specifically about whether an individual’s membership in a nation should be regarded as non-voluntary or voluntary…whether self-determination must be understood as involving having full statehood with complete authority over domestic and international affairs... (Miscevic, 2020)


The state needs a strong stable identity to cope with threats from an unpredictable international environment. Wars can lead to a stronger nationalist country as the people become united behind their leaders. Being prone to war can affect the balance of power and can have significant detrimental effects on the development of economic and social advances. The state will attempt to expand outwards spreading the ideology, invading its neighbours. Even in defeat the people will be encouraged to celebrate as victorious and have a sense of togetherness and pride. Nationalism can give some international stability, as states agree trade deals and understandings with others. But small rivalries can escalate and easily lead to conflict as each side refuses to give way. Interstate disputes and historic rivalry can be brought to the forefront of public opinion by the government in order to carry on with the status quo within the state. Nation-states may be focused on military and wary of their neighbours because they are often established through war and subsequently carry adversarial memories of their neighbours.


Nationalism has a long history and can be thought of as an expansion of small groups. When individuals come together this turns into a group. Small groups can quickly become a mass of people as they come together with similar thoughts. It is easier to complete tasks; collecting food in a group, building accommodation, these groups increase in size and eventually identify as a nation-state. This can generate public opinion, and produce a national identity, flag waving, songs and uniforms can enforce this identity. This can be seen as analogous to a music festival where a leader of a band can get the whole crowd to sing along, follow chants, clapping in time. This nationalist pride can be passed down from generation to generation and becomes a main part of the country’s make up. It becomes necessary to internalize the identity and, as a group, to jointly protect and enhance their shared identity and act as one mass of people following a leadership.


Socialism although sharing many ideals with cosmopolitanism such as ignoring gender, race and class, leads to nationalism. Nationalism can lead to totalitarian states. China, Russia, North Korea, are nationalist states, they make pacts and agreements with other nations only in order to further their own gains. Aid will only flow out if they get something in return.


Cheque-book diplomacy via foreign aid is giving aid to states who are considered friendly in return for something that benefits the donating country. Conditions can be attached such that countries that agree to democratize or become more aligned receive more aid, to the detriment of needier people elsewhere. These conditions are often opposed and seen as interference in a country’s independence and sovereignty but if the receiving country is in dire need, it will be forced to accept.


An example is of China providing arms to the Philippines


It’s hard to tell where China’s aid stops, and investment begins. In the case of the Philippines, for example, China donated 3,000 assault rifles in June for a fight then against Muslim rebels. It expected nothing back. But China and the relatively impoverished Philippines also have talked for the past year about funding for two railway projects at a combined $8.3 billion. It seems China will take a cut of proceeds from the eventual Philippine train service. (Jennings, 2017).


Military aid with a trade deal that the donating Chinese benefit from.

China gets something back in return. Most of China’s aid is considered to be this kind of concessional financing or cheque-book diplomacy. Myanmar among others have complained about Chinese control of natural resources following an aid-investment push.


In its outward aid, China does provide funds and in-kind contributions for poverty alleviation, but it also is an advocate of the concept of ‘development finance,’ in which a substantial portion of foreign aid is framed as investment, where it is entirely reasonable for the Chinese to seek to make a profit and pursue their own interests in the deal (Jennings, 2017)


The Soviet Union bid for the Aswan Dam in Egypt, at the same time they offered loans with lower interest rates than the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The aim was to move the Egyptians away from the West. This was a well thought out political strategy: ‘…an analysis of Soviet aid during the Cold War era shows that aid was used to reward (or punish) other countries for their foreign-policy positions’ (Asmus, Fuchs, Muller, 2018). Russia stopped most of its aid activities in the 1990s due to the economic decline following the end of the Soviet Union. In the mid-2000s Russia took steps towards giving foreign aid again. Russia’s aid programme seeks to ‘create a belt of good neighbourliness along the Russian national borders,’ and ‘strengthen the credibility of Russia and promote an unbiased attitude to the Russian Federation…influence global processes with a view to establishing a stable, fair and democratic world order.’ (Asmus, Fuchs, Muller, 2018). Examples are giving agricultural machinery to Nicaragua, Russian trucks for humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, assistance in Guinea to prevent the spread of Ebola, and humanitarian and food aid to Syria. The majority of Russian aid projects go towards education, health, food, security, and public finance, debt relief and loans are also offered.


If we see nationalism as powerful and well-disciplined then we see a dark side of nationalism. In Nationalism and Foreign Policy by Harris Mylonas and Kendrick Kuo


Internal domestic harmony can be created by nationalism, but any groups who are not part of the identify can be made scapegoats and discriminated against. When nationalism becomes more popular and gains strength this in-group/out-group boundary can become a conflict

(Mylonas and Kuo, 2017)  


Nationalism does not like anyone not part of their group, and international cooperation is not compatible so little importance is given to foreign aid. Nationalists will only give foreign aid once the members of their own society are well looked after; foreign aid is not at the top of a nationalist country’s agenda; they aim to help only their own people and any help to foreign nations would be low down on the list of priorities.


To compare nationalism and cosmopolitanism David Miller’s essay The Ethics of Nationality says we have special obligations to our fellow nation citizens, and these give social attachments, and obligations to the other members. Loyalty is to a general public and not to smaller groups such as family. Nationality is important for our identity and having a national identity means owing special obligations to fellow members of the nation but not to other nations. This is the opposite of the cosmopolitan view that each human should be equal no matter where in the world they are. A basic human instinct is to help the less well off, but if we take care of the less well off in our immediate vicinity which are suffering much less than people in other parts of the world, then this means less attention and aid is not given to those who need it more and who are not local, turning a blind eye to those many miles away. The nationalist argument is that it is better for local people to provide aid locally. ‘…each person should look after their own family first, next their immediate neighbours, then after those other members of their local community, and so forth…’ (Miller, 1995 p286). Local people looking after local needs are more efficient as they will know what is needed from whom and when. Local knowledge means the help can go directly where it is needed. Each state is responsible for its own citizens. Physical proximity and administrative needs mean that responsibility for people many miles away cannot be held in the same manner.


Nations are unequal in their ability to look after their own people, they all have different economies and if a well-off nation was to help only their own and a poor country help only their own then the poor country would suffer greater than it needs to, it wouldn’t take much for the more well-off country to help bring a poorer country out from poverty without damaging their own lifestyle. People can put their heads in the sand, obey the law, let the government deal with foreign aid and policy but governments cannot always look after their own. Disasters such as famines may be caused by naturally occurring disasters or as a result from the wrong decisions being made.


Nationalism aims to protect the local economy through the introduction of trade barriers and tolls, the national economy will be strengthened, which can lead to an overall improvement in wealth for the local population. From a financial standpoint, nationalism can increase the wealth of locals, at least in the short run and any leftover can be used for foreign aid. As the country makes more money the leaders can allocate funds and the means for aid to get to where it’s needed. Nationalism can unite a country, especially in difficult economic and social times, it is crucial that people believe in their nation in order to stay motivated and carry out their work. In difficult times, people can get frustrated, and the social tensions increase significantly leaving people open to be taken up in a wave of nationalism as blame is apportioned to others.


Nationalism is similar to patriotism and the two words are often used to mean the same thing, but nationalism differs from patriotism significantly. Nationalism is inward looking and elitist. Nationalists believe members of their country are better than everyone else and should be protected from other nations, any interference is strongly defended against. Patriotism is more sentimental and looks to other states to learn from, takes pride in what their country does for other states. In a successful society a patriot will help to provide aid to other less well-off states.


The journalist Sydney J Harris said,


…the difference between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility, but the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to war. (Harris, 1970)


Patriotism is a fondness to a country, the love and affection for the place where an individual is born, brought up, and the nation that place is a member of. These attachments can be linked to ethnic, cultural, political, or historical contexts. Patriotism is also being proud of a country’s values but with an enthusiasm and readiness to improve and make living conditions better. Patriotism acknowledges the patriotism of citizens of other countries and respects their values. It includes a set of concepts closely linked to those of nationalism.


Patriots will not always stand blindly behind the leaders. Those who opposed National Socialism in early-mid twentieth century Germany had to go under the radar and keep quiet about their belief that the government was wrong. Opposing meant they were patriots as they have the good of the country upper most in their minds, whereas a nationalist blindly follows their leaders. Patriots will question decisions made at government level if they don’t agree, but often they have to remain quiet due to repercussions. Patriotism is the service a citizen provides to the nation, not keeping to a particular political organization or group. Nationalism is the very ideals, motives, impressions that are going on inside a country.


Patriots live with other cultures and want to advance in competition and respect to others, learning from and implementing ideas to improve. A patriot loves his country and is proud of it for what it does in an international arena, without detriment to others. Nationalism is about identity and power. A patriot would give aid and feel proud that the country is helping, a nationalist would have a hidden purpose or secret plans behind the aid, looking to make deals exclusively or wanting access to resources in return, in order to advance themselves aid is only given with ulterior motives


Nationalist people believe that their nation is superior to other nations. Patriots believe that all nations are equal and can be improved in many ways. That’s why freedom fighters are considered patriotic if they believe they are fighting to improve the populations way of life. Patriotism enables people to understand the shortcomings and be open to others help in any improvements that can be made.


Robert E Goodin talks about ‘special duties’ that ‘bind particular people to particular other people’. He says that there is a ‘moral significance of relationships with others’, family, friends and neighbours. Living within national boundaries gives us a sense of well-being that allow us to fulfil commitments to a state. Both contributing and receiving benefits from the infrastructure and strength that a nation can give. This leads to a special relationship with compatriots, but this does not have to be detrimental to commitments to non-compatriots. He says ‘...we owe more to our fellow countrymen and less to foreigners.’  Then gives an argument for treating foreigners better than our own compatriots but still insists that we look after the interests of our own first as long as there are reasonable grounds to do so. Less but not non, this is both a nationalist and patriotic view, a cosmopolitan would owe the same to both fellow countrymen and foreigners. Goodin says there are duties we have toward people because they are of our group, and special duties we owe to particular individuals because they hold some special relation to us, family, friends, colleagues and countrymen. (Goodin, 1988)


The migration and refugee crisis of recent times has highlighted problems with the human instinct of helping those who turn up at borders, welcoming them and treat them as equals. The causes of the crisis are still the same ones that cosmopolitans have always tried to help with; wars, unequal global distribution of wealth and goods, illnesses and climate disasters. Nationalism’s inward looking and putting up barriers to keep migrants out does not help but seeks to stop this help, only a cosmopolitan viewpoint can provide this help and welcome migrants.




Nationalism and patriotism are more than just waving flags and singing songs, extremist elements use the idea of the nation group and the patriotic ties that bind the community together twisting them in their favour and end up ultimately damaging the country. All people in the world should work together and advance together. Though there is nothing wrong with having special obligations to those close to us, ignoring all others not part of the group causes much damage, especially to those in need. Helping others is instinctive to us as humans.


A patriotic viewpoint would be preferable to a nationalist view, as it is open to understanding of others needs and cultures; but patriots still have their own country’s interests above all others. Due to their inward-looking stances neither can come close to cosmopolitanism as a way of providing aid to the needy of the world and creating a more equal and mutually beneficial world.


Cosmopolitanism shares a lot with socialism, ignoring gender, race, place of birth, but socialism always leads to nationalism. China, Russia, North Korea are all nationalist states that started from socialist ideas. Nationalism leads to wars and aggression as they try to expand and find ways to make their own population more advanced, at the expense of others, or just to keep egotistical leaders in power.


Cosmopolitans ignore the political view, focusing on ideas and way of life that may erode the sovereignty of nation-states and reorient their identities and interests away from the nation and focus to other cultures in order to learn and help. Not through regime change or a political force but by influencing the system we have. Encouraging the political parties, we have to use these ideas to act, providing aid, stopping hunger and poverty and opening up opportunities.


This makes cosmopolitanism ideas more able to provide aid than the political views of nationalism and patriotism.


Cosmopolitanism is the best ideology for providing foreign aid. Political views leading to Nationalism and Patriotism hinder foreign aid.


10282 words approx.




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