Inequality, Development, and Global Distributive Justice

Jeremy Adelman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the late nineteenth century what is now called the Global South produced a narrative about its place in the wider world economy as backward and underdeveloped. Yet the sense of being on the periphery evolved into a critique of the world economy and claims for redistribution from the world’s wealthy societies to the underdeveloped world as a way to “catch up.” The call for redistribution became a narrative for global justice, simultaneously a critique of capitalism and a source of pressure for new institutions and policies. The idea of redistributive justice was the driving force behind that of development, from its origins in the 1930s to the first decade of the twenty-first century, and a narrative of empowerment. Development was for global distributive justice what welfarism and socialism were to the idea of national distributive justice. As such, the two had a coiled history from the 1880s, reaching a peak in the 1960s, and in simultaneous retreat ever since.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDebating Worlds
Subtitle of host publicationContested Narratives of Global Modernity and World Order
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9780197679302
ISBN (Print)9780197679319
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Global South
  • development
  • distributive justice
  • global
  • narrative


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