The strategic genius of some recent development discourses lies in their appropriation or reappropriation of hegemonic ideas and practices. However, the choice of a conservative framework for progressive goals may mean that the compromise may be more than symbolic. The global public goods movement seeks to resuscitate earlier economic ideas about the economic utility of the public provision of certain goods but in this case at a supranational level. The book Towards New Global Strategies: Public Goods and Human Rights attempts to engage with the idea from a human rights perspective. While there are some notable contributions, much of the book founders on a failure to understand the different, and sometimes confused, strands of the global public goods thinking and properly engage with them from a human rights perspective. This article tries to tease out what appears to be the two diffent schools of thought of global public goods and the human rights questions that should be posed to them. Given the dominance of the economics discourse and the enduring nationalism in much international development cooperation, instrumental arguments for the utility of human rights and development should be cautiously welcomed but also carefully critiqued.