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.
Jahel Queralt and Bas van der Vossen
Part I: Economic Liberties and International Law
2. Property Rights as Human Rights
3. In What Sense are Economic Rights Human Rights? Departing from their Naturalistic Reading in International Human Rights Law
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
6. Entrepreneurial Rights as Basic Rights
7. International Law, Public Reason, and Productive Rights
Part III: Economic Liberties as Human Rights
8. Making a Living: The Human Right to Livelihood
9. The Right to Own the Means of Production
Christopher Freiman and John Thrasher
10. A Claim to Own Productive Property
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
12. How Fundamental is the Right to Freedom of Exchange?
Part V: Economic Liberties in Practice
13. Economic Rights of The Informal Self-Employed: Three Urban Cases
14. Addressing Land Rights in the Human Rights Framework
Karol C. Boudreaux
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.