Habermas on the human right to subsistence

Ingram, David Habermas on the human right to subsistence. [Articles (Articoli)]

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Abstract

Every year 18 million of the earth's six billion inhabitants die from lacking means of subsistence. We who live in developed nations typically blame this catastrophe on drought, overpopulation, resource mismanagement, corrupt government, and other local factors, thereby relieving ourselves of any responsibility for this crime. At the same time, we do not hesitate to invoke the language of human rights in condemning this state of affairs. Either we do so in the name of moral progress – as when we say, following the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the world has fallen short of achieving an aspiration essential to civilized humanity; or we do so in the name of moral offense, as when we condemn selected government officials for having committed acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and the like. One might ponder whether either of these two senses of human rights – as aspirations for measuring moral progress or as claims against government officials for failing to discharge their duties to their citizens – generates a moral discourse sufficient for coming to terms with globalization. In particular, one wonders whether they adequately respond to the fact that we are dealing with the imposition of impersonal social structures and institutions that prevent the poor from freely accessing their means of subsistence.

Item Type: Articles (Articoli)
Additional Information: A version of this paper was presented as a keynote address to the conference Beyond Reification: Critical Theory and the Challenge of Praxis held at John Cabot University in Rome on May 21
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rawls, Habermas, Human Rights
Subjects: H Social Sciences
P Philosophy
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email info@prospettive.biz
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2008 10:36
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2008 10:36
URI: http://eprints.sifp.it/id/eprint/196

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