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Title: Economics Against Human Rights: The Conflicting Languages of Economics and Human Rights
Authors: Branco, Manuel
Keywords: Human Rights
Issue Date: Mar-2009
Publisher: Capitalism, Nature, Socialism
Citation: Branco, M. (2009) "Economics Against Human Rights: The Conflicting Languages of Economics and Human Rights", Capitalism Nature Socialism, vol 20, nº 1: 88-103
Abstract: It is said that economics value individual and economic freedom and from that many hastily conclude that mainstream economics value human rights. The purpose of this paper is to show that on the contrary mainstream economics is fundamentally contradictory with many human rights especially Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. First of all mainstream economics and human rights have trouble in communicating, the latter speaking the rights language and the former the wants language. Within the wants language, capability to pay is the key question whereas within the rights language, entitlement is. If in the first case exclusion and inequality are acceptable in the second case the only acceptable situation is the one characterized by inclusion and equality. In other words goods and services can be unequally distributed, rights cannot. Secondly the objective of social utility maximization can be contradictory with human rights as it may interfere with individual rights and finally the economic problem language is opposed to a rights language. Therefore, considering the introduction of different logics into the economic equation as unbearable interferences with economic logic, mainstream economics stands against human rights. In order to give a better illustration of this contradiction the particular conflicts between economics and the right to work, the right to water and the right to social security will be presented. We will also see that one cannot count on the market alone, to ensure economic, social and cultural rights, for example. The main conclusion of this paper is that in order to favour human rights economics should either suffer a paradigmatic revolution or accept to play just a supporting role in the process of global development. In other words economics should partly be accepted as a political science.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:NICPRI.UE - Publicações - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais Com Arbitragem Científica

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