Source: (2008) Politics, Philosophy and Economics. 7(4):379-402.

Do we violate human rights when we cooperate with and impose a global institutional order that engenders extreme poverty? Thomas Pogge argues that by shaping and enforcing the social conditions that foreseeably and avoidably cause global poverty we are violating the negative duty not to cooperate in the imposition of a coercive institutional order that avoidably leaves human rights unfulfilled. This article argues that Pogge’s argument fails to distinguish between harms caused by the global institutions themselves and harms caused by the domestic policies of particular states and collective action problems for which collective responsibility cannot be assigned. The article also argues that his position relies on questionable factual and theoretical claims about the impact of global institutions on poverty, and about the benefits and harms of certain features of these institutions. Participation in, and benefit from, global institutions is unlikely to constitute a violation of our negative duties towards the poor. (author's abstract)