How to redistribute? A critical examination of mechanisms to promote global wealth redistribution

Ilan Benshalom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The literature on global redistributive justice deals primarily with the important, yet unresolved issues of why global wealth redistribution may be morally justified or beneficial. However, philosophers and economists who address these issues often do not address the question of how such redistribution should take place. This article seeks to rectify this deficiency and argues that, if a certain level of global wealth distribution is morally justified and, more importantly, beneficial, the question of how it should be promoted is far from trivial. In this context, the analysis opens a new discussion of what form of redistributive measures should be adopted in a multistate reality. The article analyses the potential distributive impact of international tax arrangements. It first explains how international tax arrangements, as an indirect method of redistribution, can promote global distributive objectives. It then assesses whether international tax arrangements offer a more effective global wealth redistribution mechanism when compared to other (indirect) alternatives such as fair trade, international labour, and environmental regulation. The article evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of different redistributive arrangements through the lenses of three criteria: the scope of redistribution, the efficiency of redistribution, and the political feasibility of redistribution. It concludes that, under certain plausible circumstances, international tax redistributive efforts would offer a more effective redistributive option compared to other alternatives.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)317-358
Number of pages42
JournalUniversity of Toronto Law Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • international taxation
  • international wealth redistribution


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