Ethics & International Affairs Volume 17.1 (Spring 2003): Special Section: Achieving Global Economic Justice: Holding Intergovernmental Institutions to Account [Abstract]

Mar 2, 2003

How can governments and peoples better hold to account international economic institutions, such as the WTO, the World Bank, and the IMF? This article proposes an approach based on public accountability, advocating improvements in four areas: constitutional, political, financial, and internal accountability.

The argument for more accountability is made with two caveats: more accountability is not always good––it can be distorting and costly; and, enhancing the accountability of international institutions should not justify increasing their jurisdiction for the sake of reducing the role of national governments. Constitutional accountability poses limits on how the institutions expand their activities, requiring the active consent of all members and particularly those most affected by their activities. Political accountability requires that those who make decisions in the organizations are directly answerable to all member governments and not just to the most powerful ones. The institutions’ uneven record and structure of financial accountability is addressed through a model of mutual restraint. Finally, the internal accountability should ensure that technical decisions are distinguishable from political decisions. A better matching of the right kinds of accountability to the activities of the organizations would improve both their effectiveness and legitimacy.

To read or purchase the full text of this article, click here.

You may also like

JAN 4, 2022 Journal

Ethics & International Affairs Volume 35.4 (Winter 2021)

The issue features a book symposium organized by Michael Blake on Anna Stilz's "Territorial Sovereignty," with contributions from Adom Getachew; Christopher Heath Wellman; and Michael ...

OCT 29, 2021 Journal

Ethics & International Affairs Volume 35.3 (Fall 2021)

The highlight of this issue is a book symposium organized by Peter Balint on Ned Dobos’s "Ethics, Security, and the War Machine," featuring contributions ...

MAR 27, 2020 Journal

Ethics & International Affairs Volume 34.1 (Spring 2020)

The highlight of the Spring 2020 issue of "Ethics & International Affairs" issue is a roundtable organized by Alex J. Bellamy entitled "World Peace (And How We ...