Do transnational economic effects violate human rights?

Ethics and Global Politics 2 (3):259-276 (2009)
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Transnational effects are identified as those economic effects which cross state boundaries. Where these effects are negative, as illustrated by the ‘transnational case’, it is asked what the appropriate ethical analysis of such a case might be. If we leave aside a social distributive justice analysis, for reasons given, then a typical move is to claim that transnational economic effects are analysable as human rights violations. The paper examines this claim and identifies the specific view of human rights which motivates it: the ‘outcomes view of human rights’. It is then shown how the outcomes view of human rights ultimately collapses into social distributive justice-type standards and so suffers from the same problems raised against using those standards for transnational effects. An alternative approach to human rights is sketched, although a complete theory of human rights is not offered. Finally, a different type of justice analysis for transnational cases is offered in which a form of international justice proper is proposed



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Saladin Meckled-Garcia
University College London

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