Economic Liberties and Human Rights: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Economic Liberties and Human Rights

1st Edition

Edited by Jahel Queralt, Bas van der Vossen


344 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-05-20
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The status of economic liberties remains a serious lacuna in the theory and practice of human rights. Should a minimally just society protect the freedoms to sell, save, profit and invest? Is being prohibited to run a business a human rights violation? While these liberties enjoy virtually no support from the existing philosophical theories of human rights and little protection by the international human rights law, they are of tremendous importance in the lives of individuals, and particularly the poor. Like most individual liberties, economic liberties increase our ability to lead our own life. When we enjoy them, we can choose the occupational paths that best fit us and, in so doing, define who they are in relation to others. Furthermore, in the absence of good jobs, economic liberties allow us to create an alternative path to subsistence. This is critical for the millions of working poor in developing countries who earn their livelihoods by engaging in independent economic activities. Insecure economic liberties leave them vulnerable to harassment, bribery and other forms of abuse from middlemen and public officials. This book opens a debate about the moral and legal status of economic liberties as human rights. It brings together political and legal theorists working in the domain of human rights and global justice, as well as people engaged in the practice of human rights, to engage in both foundational and applied issues concerning these questions.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Jahel Queralt and Bas van der Vossen

Part I: Economic Liberties and International Law

2. Property Rights as Human Rights

José Alvarez

3. In What Sense are Economic Rights Human Rights? Departing from their Naturalistic Reading in International Human Rights Law

Samantha Besson

4. Property’s Relation to Human Rights

Carol M. Rose

Part II:  Economic Liberties, Growth, and Human Rights 

5. Global Justice and Economic Growth: Ignoring the Only Thing that Works

Dan Moller

6. Entrepreneurial Rights as Basic Rights

Francis Cheneval

7. International Law, Public Reason, and Productive Rights

Fernando Tesón

Part III:  Economic Liberties as Human Rights

8. Making a Living: The Human Right to Livelihood

Amanda Greene

9. The Right to Own the Means of Production

Christopher Freiman and John Thrasher

10. A Claim to Own Productive Property

Nien-hê Hsieh

12. Creativity, Economic Freedom, and Human Rights

Robert Cooter and Benjamin Chen

Part IV: Critical Views

11. Economic Rights as Human Rights: Commodification and Moral Parochialism

Daniel Attas

12. How Fundamental is the Right to Freedom of Exchange?

Rowan Cruft

Part V:  Economic Liberties in Practice

13. Economic Rights of The Informal Self-Employed: Three Urban Cases

Martha Chen

14. Addressing Land Rights in the Human Rights Framework

Karol C. Boudreaux 

About the Editors

Jahel Queralt is a Serra Hunter Lecturer in Law at Pompeu Fabra University. Previously, she has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies Justitia Amplificata at the Goethe-Universität of Frankfurt and at the Ethik Zentrum at the University of Zurich. Her research interests include liberalism, distributive justice, productive justice and human rights. Her work has appeared in journals such as Law and Philosophy, Ratio Juris, and Analyse und Kritik.

Bas van der Vossen is Associate Professor in the Smith Institute of Political Economy and Philosophy, and the Philosophy Department at Chapman University. His research is in political philosophy. He’s the co-author of In Defense of Openness, with Jason Brennan (2018) and Debating Humanitarian Intervention, with Fernando Tesón (2017) and co-edited the Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism (Routledge, 2017). He is currently an Associate Editor of the journal Social Philosophy and Policy. Bas earned his DPhil from the University of Oxford.

About the Series

Political Philosophy for the Real World

Political philosophers and applied ethicists often think in terms of ideal theory. In short, they ask what institutions, policies, or practices would work best if people had perfect motivations. While such work might help us imagine what utopia would look like, it offers little practical guidance.

Political Philosophy for the Real World offers a home for original scholarly research that confronts the very problems ideal theory imagines away, such as corruption, incentives, incompetence, rent-seeking, strategic free-riding and non-compliance, and political manipulation. The monographs and edited collections in this series integrate normative philosophy with the best empirical work in political science, economics, sociology, and psychology. By taking the incentives our institutions create and the motivations of individuals seriously, these books advocate for workable policy solutions that incorporate insights from the social sciences.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Theory
PHILOSOPHY / Political
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights