Values in Translation: Human Rights and the Culture of the World Bank

G. Sarfaty, Values in Translation: Human Rights and the Culture of the World Bank, Stanford University Press, 2012

Posted: 27 Jul 2012

See all articles by Galit Sarfaty

Galit Sarfaty

University of British Columbia – Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

The World Bank is the largest lender to developing countries, making loans worth over $20 billion per year to finance development projects around the globe. To guide its investments, the Bank has adopted a number of social and environmental policies, yet it has never instituted any overarching policy on human rights. Despite the potential human rights impact of Bank projects — the forced displacement of indigenous peoples resulting from a Bank-financed dam project, for example — the issue of human rights remains marginal in the Bank's operational practices.

Values in Translation analyzes the organizational culture of the World Bank and addresses the question of why it has not adopted a human rights framework. Academics and social advocates have typically focused on legal restrictions in the Bank's Articles of Agreement. This work's anthropological analysis sheds light on internal obstacles including the employee incentive system and a clash of expertise between lawyers and economists over how to define human rights and justify their relevance to the Bank's mission.

Keywords: International Economic Law, International Organizations, Human Rights, Law and Development, World Bank, Organizational Culture, Anthropology

Suggested Citation

Sarfaty, Galit, Values in Translation: Human Rights and the Culture of the World Bank (2012). G. Sarfaty, Values in Translation: Human Rights and the Culture of the World Bank, Stanford University Press, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2116661

Galit Sarfaty (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia – Faculty of Law ( email )

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Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1
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