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Economics for Human Rights

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  • Manuel Couret Branco

    ()
    (NICPRI and CEFAGE - University of Évora)

Abstract

The Subprime Crash that started capitalism’s latest crisis was mainly a proxy for an inexistent housing policy which would benefit many impoverished middle class families. Housing being clearly recognized as a human right, the behaviour of markets and its critical consequences could lead us to say that the Subprime Crash is above all the dramatic and global expression of the incapacity of markets to meet human rights. More than that, it could also be the demonstration of the counterproductive effects of the neglect of human rights by the market and by economics itself, the crisis being a result of this neglect. Human rights are assuredly one of the most influential and fruitful concepts of modern times in the human quest for dignity. Economics has developed a considerable amount of tools especially designed to overcome, or at least mitigate, scarcity, probably the most tormenting spectre that haunts the deprived. Human rights and economics, thus, have contributed immensely to free human kind, human rights from fear and economics from want. Despite this convergence it seems that economics regards human rights as competing rather than as completing. I have argued that mainstream economics discourse is often contradictory with promoting human rights. What are the changes economics must undergo in order to promote human rights? These changes will be examined in four aspects concerning specific economic, social and cultural human rights. First, on the right to work, second on the right to social security, third on cultural freedom, and finally on substantive democracy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal) in its series CEFAGE-UE Working Papers with number 2011_02.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfe:wpcefa:2011_02

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Keywords: Economics; Human Rights; Work; Cultural Freedom; Democracy.;

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