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Relationship of Economic Stability to Social and Economic Rights

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Thomas E. Chamberlain, Ph.D.*

Our traditional rights rhetoric has been unhelpful. Rights rhetoric revolves around the
individual, the bearer of the right; it doesn't help us in allocating resources or
adjudicating between competing rights bearers.
…Isn't there an alternative to the decision-making process that the current rights rhetoric
implies, an alternative that is inclusive and communal rather than adversarial and
adjudicatory? Martha Minow (1993).


Significant gains in human rights have been achieved over the centuries, and our advancement in
economics has been an important factor in this progress. In very recent time, a more substantive
understanding of economics has revealed uneven expected (investment) risk as a cause of poverty, and
has suggested corrective measures or actions. One action is to institute damping or “smoothing” of trade
and investment across international boundaries thereby increasing predictability, and promoting
investment and enterprise; And an action within each nation is the cooperation of government and
citizenry in promoting investment in (capital-intensifying) education and health, and accordingly
suppressing/reversing the tendency of markets to divide us into rich and poor. …Economic stability, the
condition wherein responsible government systematically addresses and reverses poverty, is a
requirement for a just world at peace and harmony—indeed, the notion that we can meet our great
challenges, and ultimately achieve the good society, in a world inclined to division and poverty cannot be
defended. Since economic stability is of paramount importance, it is concluded that socio-economic rights
serve to advance and preserve this primary condition. More to the point, in the arrest and reversal of
poverty, advancement of social and economic rights is shared, or integral, with responsible governance.
…While social and economic rights (and human rights complete) can and will be pursued as proper and
just, their advancement now serves a communal goal: Socio-economic balance, while never exactly
achieved in our dynamic world, is continually approached, as the just commitment to economic stability.

Paper: Chamberlain-Paper_ERSA-Paris_2007.pdf