Document Type



Published in: Metaphilosophy, Vol. 36, no. 1/2 (January 2005).


This essay aims to bring two important lines of inquiry and criticism together. It first lays out an institutionally enriched account of what a just world economic order will look like. That account prescribes, via the requisites to that mechanism which most directly instantiate the account, three realms of equal treatment and market completion - the global products, services, and labor markets; the global investment/financial markets; and the global preparticipation opportunity allocation. The essay then suggests how, with minimal if any departure from familiar canons of traditional international legal mandate interpretation, each of the Bretton Woods institutions - particularly the GATT/WTO and the IMF - can be viewed at least in part as charged with the task of fostering equal treatment and ultimate market completion within one of those three realms. The piece then argues that one of the institutions in particular - the World Bank - has, for reasons of at best negligent and at worst willful injustice on the part of influential state actors in the world community, fallen farthest short in pursuit of what should be viewed as its proper mandate. The article accordingly concludes that a fuller empowerment of the Bank to effect its ideal mission will press the Bretton Woods system more nearly into ethical balance, and with it the world into justice; and that full empowerment of the GATT/WTO and IMF should be partly conditioned upon the fuller empowerment of the Bank.

Date of Authorship for this Version


Included in

Economics Commons