One important philosopher within the field of cosmopolitanism is Peter Singer, an egalitarian thinker. Singer argues that every individual has a duty towards other human beings to prevent suffering. As Singer explains,
“If it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything else morally significant, we ought, morally, to do it.”
By calling upon people to take their responsibility, Singer strives to minimize inequality globally. Singer calls upon everyone to take responsibility, given that individuals have obligations towards other individuals. These obligations are at the core of cosmopolitanism. In order to truly embrace the cosmopolitan ideal, I believe it is crucial, on a personal level, to first start by educating yourself on issues within your community, and how such issues also exist on a global scale. Moreover, it is crucial to evaluate your own position within the wider systems that are causing such issues. Lastly, one needs to take action to address such issues, given that we have obligations towards others.
The current protests that started following the death of George Floyd are an example of the obligations individuals have towards other individuals. Within the system of institutional racism, black people have been disadvantaged since 1619, while white people have continuously benefitted from their skin color. The global protests are showing that not only a negative duty exists of not being racist, but more importantly a positive duty of actively being anti-racist. Being anti-racist means actively fighting for systems change, in order to set up structures that treat people with dignity, thus leading to more equality. I believe that perhaps by fighting for structural changes within the local community, whatever the issue at hand, individuals are fulfilling (part of) their obligations towards others, thus moving towards the cosmopolitan ideal.