In this paper I shall argue that much of the existing global inequality is unjust, and that this injustice is not only because reducing inequality could serve the important goal of poverty reduction. I reject arguments of John Rawls and Thomas Nagel that limit the importance of distributive egalitarianism to states. I argue in contrast that a commitment to respect for human dignity has egalitarian distributive implications for the global economy. Injustice in the existing institutional order provides reasons for reforming the global institutional structure to reduce inequality. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.