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Keywords:

  • borrowing privilege;
  • bribery;
  • development;
  • foreign aid;
  • human rights;
  • hunger;
  • inequality;
  • negative duty;
  • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development;
  • poverty;
  • John Rawls;
  • resource privilege;
  • World Bank;
  • World Food Summit;
  • World Trade Organization

One-third of all human deaths are due to poverty-related causes, to malnutrition and to diseases that can be prevented or cured cheaply. Yet our politicians, academics, and mass media show little concern for how such poverty might be reduced. They are more interested in possible military interventions to stop human rights violations in developing countries, even though such interventions – at best – produce smaller benefits at greater cost. This Western priority may be rooted in self-interest. But it engenders, and is sustained by, a deeply flawed moral presentation of global economic cooperation. The new global economic order we impose aggravates global inequality and reproduces severe poverty on a massive scale. On any plausible understanding of our moral values, the prevention of such poverty is our foremost responsibility.