Prof. dr Thomas Pogge

Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs, Yale University, New Haven, USA

Having received his PhD in philosophy from Harvard, Thomas Pogge is Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs and founding Director of the Global Justice Program at Yale. He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science as well as co-founder of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP), an international network aiming to enhance the impact of scholars, teachers and students on global poverty, and of Incentives for Global Health, a team effort toward developing a complement to the pharmaceutical patent regime that would improve access to advanced medicines for the poor worldwide ( His recent publications include Designing in Ethics, co-edited, Cambridge 2017; Global Tax Fairness, co-edited, Oxford 2016; Politics as Usual, Polity 2010; World Poverty and Human Rights, 2nd edition, Polity 2008; Global Justice and Global Ethics, co-edited, Paragon House 2008; John Rawls: His Life and Theory of Justice, Oxford 2007; and Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right, edited, Oxford & UNESCO 2007. More information at

Abstract : What ASAP Can Achieve: a best-case scenario

The central idea behind ASAP is to use the already existing vast network of schools and academics around the world to facilitate better collaboration among poverty-focused researchers toward real poverty eradication. This explains ASAP’s three key objectives: collaboration, outreach, impact.

This central idea can accommodate many useful projects, from technological innovations for the poor to large-scale structural reforms of supranational institutional arrangements as exemplified by the Health Impact Fund or Global Resources Dividend projects.

It is important here to bear in mind that there is such a things as too many good ideas. Progressive forces have lost a lot of ground over the last 40 years by dividing themselves over far too many good causes, thereby ensuring that most of the battles we fought were lost. It is a crucial political imperative to work more closely together, to devise a common strategy for achieving lasting progress. All too often, we have treated changing the world as a recreational activity, feeling good about our noble intentions and satisfying communal activities while barely making any difference to persistent poverty and mounting inequality. At minimum, we need to think about an appropriate sequencing of political goals. We need to select a realistic objective as our first target, mobilize all progressive forces behind it and win a decisive victory. This would help overcome the demoralization of the Left and build political momentum, thereby making it much easier to attack more difficult objectives later on. We all need to be prepared to join one anothers’ battles, to postpone our own favorite issue for the sake of pushing through a progressive agenda step-by-step. Among the most important things ASAP could do is to facilitate debate and action on such a joint progressive sequencing and strategy.