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What are the implications of human rights for minerals taxation?


  • Southalan, John


This article examines the relationship between a state's taxation of mineral revenues and the human rights obligation to use 'maximum available resources' to further citizens' welfare. These both have implications for understanding the other but there has been little attention to their interaction. Contemporary (economic and policy) approaches to mineral taxation revolve around economic rent and providing a 'neutral' economic environment that does not influence investment decisions. There is no reference to human rights obligations--these are just part of the state's general responsibilities for which it can legitimately raise taxes. Taxation analysis largely ignores whether the state wants money to ensure there is adequate food for the population, or instead to stage the Miss Universe pageant. Human rights has relevance for the state's management of resources. The requirement for states to apply 'maximum available resources' to fulfil human rights suggests that mineral extraction (and taxation) should occur as fast as possible to be applied for the human rights of the current population A more considered analysis weighs against such a literal interpretation. Nevertheless, the requirement of using 'maximum available resources' to fulfil human rights has important implications for mineral taxation.

Suggested Citation

  • Southalan, John, 2011. "What are the implications of human rights for minerals taxation?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 214-226, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:3:p:214-226

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lange, Glenn-Marie & Wright, Matthew, 2004. "Sustainable development in mineral economies: the example of Botswana," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 485-505, August.
    2. Stevens, Paul & Dietsche, Evelyn, 2008. "Resource curse: An analysis of causes, experiences and possible ways forward," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 56-65, January.
    3. O'Regan, Bernadette & Moles, Richard, 2004. "The dynamics of relative attractiveness--a case study in mineral exploration and development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 73-87, May.
    4. Anthony Bebbington & Leonith Hinojosa & Denise Humphreys Bebbington & Maria Luisa Burneo & Ximena Warnaars, 2008. "Contention and Ambiguity: Mining and the Possibilities of Development," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 5708, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tapan Sarker, 2013. "Taxing for the future: an intergenerational perspective," Chapters,in: The Asian Century, Sustainable Growth and Climate Change, chapter 4, pages 85-110 Edward Elgar Publishing.


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