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The Bretton Woods Institutions are, together with the WTO, the preeminent international institutions devoted to managing international economic relations. This mandate puts them squarely in the center of the debate concerning development, inequality and global justice. While the normative analysis of the WTO is gaining momentum, the systematic normative evaluation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund is comparatively less developed. This essay aims to contribute to that nascent inquiry. How might global justice criteria apply to the ideology and operations of the Bank and Fund? Political theory offers an abundance of perspectives from which to conduct such an analysis; this essay will focus on Rawls' theory of Justice as Fairness adapted to international institutions by the author in connection with the WTO, and extend it to the remaining "legs" of the Bretton Woods "stool." This essay will ask what difference it would make for the Bank and Fund if an explicit global justice framework informed their international lending activities.


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8 Sep 2022
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  • Subject
    • Banking and Finance Law

    • Civil Rights and Discrimination

    • Economics

    • Human Rights Law

    • International Trade Law

  • Journal title
    • Transcending the Ostensible: Developing Countries in the WTO Legal System

  • Date submitted

    8 September 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Suggested Citation:

      Frank J. Garcia. "Justice, the Bretton Woods Institutions and the Problem of Inequality." In Transcending the Ostensible: Developing Countries in the WTO Legal System. Chantal Thomas, Joel P. Trachtman, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.