The Moral Foundations of Foreign Aid

24 Pages Posted: 7 May 2015

See all articles by Brian Opeskin

Brian Opeskin

University of Technology Sydney

Date Written: 01 01, 1996


This article considers the moral grounds for giving aid to developing states and their citizens. After reviewing the current level of foreign aid, the article addresses three principal questions. (a) Do moral obligations arise from considerations of humanity, corrective justice, or distributive justice?; (b) do the obligations and entitlements fall on individuals or on states?; and (c) how much are the rich obliged to transfer to the poor? The article concludes that obligations of humanity and corrective justice require developed states and their citizens to give far more foreign aid than current practices disclose.

Keywords: foreign aid, ODA, developing states, developed states, moral obligation, universal duties, humanity, corrective justice, distributive justice, states, individuals, donors, recipients

Suggested Citation

Opeskin, Brian, The Moral Foundations of Foreign Aid (01 01, 1996). World Development, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1996, Available at SSRN:

Brian Opeskin (Contact Author)

University of Technology Sydney ( email )

Faculty of Law
University of Technology Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales 2007
+61-2-95149670 (Phone)


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