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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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