Joshua Cohen's Program on Global Justice joins Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL)

Joshua Cohen's Program on Global Justice (PGJ), which explores issues at the intersection of political norms and global political-economic realities, has joined CDDRL Center Director Larry Diamond has announced.  Cohen, a professor of political science, philosophy, and law, came to Stanford from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in 2006 to launch a new program on global justice at FSI.

The aim of his program, Cohen said, "is to build dialogue and research that integrates political values - toleration, fairness, and the common good - into discussions about human rights, global governance, and access to such basic goods as food and clean water."  "These issues of global politics are all ethically consequential," Cohen points out, "and addressing them well requires a mix of philosophical thought with the best current social-scientific research."

CDDRL Director Diamond and Associate Director for research Kathryn Stoner joined in saying "We are delighted to welcome Josh Cohen to our team.  His path-breaking work bridges the normative, empirical, and policy dimensions of our Center's ongoing concerns for democracy, equitable economic development, and the rule of law."

Under Cohen, the Global Justice Program's largest effort has focused on the Just Supply Chains project. As globalization of production creates a need for new models of fair treatment for workers in global supply chains, fresh thinking is also needed on the role of unions, the rights of workers to associate, and the role of trade agreement in promoting just working conditions.

Cohen, Diamond, and Terry Winograd, Stanford professor of computer science, have also initiated a the new Program on Liberation Technology which brings together Stanford colleagues from computer science and applied technology with social scientists to explore ways that new information technologies can improve economic, political, and social conditions in low income countries, and materially improve human lives. As Cohen and Diamond note, Liberation Technology "seeks to understand how information technology can be used to defend human rights, improve governance, empower the poor, promote economic development, and pursue of variety of other social goods."  

A prolific author, Cohen has written extensively on issues of democratic theory, especially the theory of deliberative democracy, and implications of that idea for personal liberty. He is the author with Joel Rogers of On Democracy (1983), Rules of the Game (1986), and Associations and Democracy (1995). A volume of his selected papers, Philosophy, Politics, Democracy is forthcoming from Harvard University Press, and his Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals, is forthcoming from Oxford University press.  

Cohen is also the editor of Boston Review, a bi-monthly magazine of political, cultural, and literary ideas, and has edited 18 books that grew out of forums that appeared in the Review. He moderated the Global Poverty and Development Course offered by in 2007 for employees. The ten week-course addressed issues ranging from growth and globalization to education and urbanization, and can still be watched on YouTube.

Diamond, Stoner-Weiss, and Cohen are part of the distinguished Stanford faculty group who lead the Just Supply Chains each summer.  This highly competitive program each year selects from 600-800 applicants some 30 rising leaders from major transitioning countries such as Russia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe and brings them to Stanford to examine and foster linkages among democracy, sustainable economic development, and good governance. As Diamond and Cohen point out, in today's challenging environment, putting new information technologies to socially, politically, and economic constructive uses is a powerful tool and of growing interest to many of these rising leaders from transitioning countries.