23 June, 2009

Is poverty a violation of human rights?

Wil Wilkinson, blogger and philosopher, has a long and interesting post on rights. In turn, it has generated a long and interesting discussion in the comments section. He starts with the question of whether or not poverty is a violation of a (positive) right, and the more he looks at the question the more complicated it becomes. Along the way, he makes some fascinating connections. Check out this concluding paragraph:

The idea that there is something natural and inevitable, and therefore nothing objectionable, about the status quo global system of exclusive states is I think one of the ultimate barriers to the spread of legitimate human rights and the prosperity that entails. I think current debates over economic development and global justice seem so fruitless because they take for granted a set of illegitimate assumptions of which we have attained only a flicker of awareness.

How he gets to this point deserves to be read in full.

Is Poverty a Violation of Human Rights?

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