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Economics for Human Rights

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Couret Branco, 2011. "Economics for Human Rights," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2011_02, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).
  • Handle: RePEc:cfe:wpcefa:2011_02
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    File URL: http://www.cefage.uevora.pt/en/content/download/2314/31048/file/2011_02.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Schaeffer, Peter V., 2009. "Imperfection as the Norm," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 39(1), pages 1-7.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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