The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 81-117

First online:

What We Owe to the Global Poor

  • Mathias RisseAffiliated withJohn F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Email author 

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This essay defends an account of the duties to the global poor that is informed by the empirical question of what makes countries rich or poor, and that tends to be broadly in agreement with John Rawls’s account in The Law of Peoples. I begin by introducing the debate about the sources of growth and explore its implications for duties towards the poor. Next I explore whether (and deny that) there are any further-reaching duties towards the poor. Finally, I ask about the moral foundations for the duties to the poor of the sort that earlier parts argue there are.


duties to the global poor global justice institutions John Rawls poverty