Democratizing global governance through the use of a joint legal/market accountability system: The bet of the World Bank and Corporate Social Responsibility

Tuesday 13 July 2010

The idea of this Master’s thesis was born from the observation that what is referred to as globalisation is deeply affecting the world we live in. Indeed, more and more transnational institutions are entrusted with (regulatory) powers that had always been thought of as solely belonging to States. However, they are far from being democratic. This thesis will focus on one of those institutions: the World Bank; with the aim of making it more accountable. Indeed, in accordance with the Global Administrative Law project, I argue that, as far as today, accountability is the form of democratic responsibility which is best adapted to the global paradigm.
After having described how the World Bank interprets its mission of poverty alleviation, I shall proceed to an in-depth analysis of the concept of accountability. On that basis I will analyse the accountability mechanisms existing at the Bank, and conclude that they do not conform to the concept. Therefore, I will argue for a new accountability mechanism: a joint legal/market accountability system, through the use of Corporate Social Responsibility instruments, which will build upon the World Bank’s mission. To that end, I will demonstrate that the field of development can be framed as a market, and that the World Bank has a dual nature (Corporation and Public Institution). Finally, I will outline in what ways the proposed solution can work.

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