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Rights and other institutions. 25 November 2013. Rights. What is a right? entitlements (not) to perform certain actions, or (not) to be in certain states; or entitlements that others (not) perform certain actions or (not) be in certain states Distinguish rights from democracy

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Presentation Transcript

Rights
Rights

  • What is a right?

    • entitlements (not) to perform certain actions, or (not) to be in certain states; or entitlements that others (not) perform certain actions or (not) be in certain states

  • Distinguish rights from democracy

    • Democracy as way of making collective decisions

    • Rights as a limitation on democracy

  • Consider Rawlsian political theory

    • Start with veil of ignorance

    • 1st principle: guarantee fundamental right


First generation rights
First generation rights

  • Negative rights: non-interference of state in private sphere

    • Speech, religion, association, privacy

    • Also political: right to vote

  • Viewed as most basic and essential

  • Even these can be limited

  • Prisoners can’t vote, can’t propagate hatred/racism


Second generation rights
Second generation rights

  • Positive right: entitlement to provision of some good or service

  • Social and economic welfare: health, housing, minimal income

    • Right to benevolent actions from others

  • For

    • Necessary for first generation rights to be meaningful

    • Needed for legitimacy


Problems and solutions
Problems and solutions

  • Hard to enforce => devalue other rights

  • Justiciable: can courts decide these cases

  • Too expensive for developing states

  • Poor incentives

  • Solutions

    • Ask whether state takes reasonable actions

    • Ask whether a system is in place


Third generation rights
Third generation rights

  • Do rights apply only to individuals?

  • Life gains meaning through groups

  • Rights to collective goods: survival of language, self-determination, environment


Some cultural group rights
Some cultural/group rights

  • Exemptions from laws: eg, drug use by native Americans

  • Assistance to do things that majority does easily:


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