Human rights and economics are the concepts that have
contributed the most to free human kind, the former from fear and
the latter from need. Consequently, they should be complementing
rather competing. Unfortunately it does not seem to be the case. In
this book Manuel Couret Branco shows how mainstream economics
discourse is intrinsically opposed to the promotion of human
rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights.
Considering a variety of issues, this book looks at the conflict
between economics and human rights at a theoretical level; how
economics is opposed to the right to work; how economics, being a
science concerned with the provision of goods and services for
commercial purposes, conflicts with the idea of providing those
same goods and services as rights, using as examples the right to
water and the right to social security; the opposition of economics
to cultural freedom, supported by the argument that economics tends
to homogenize cultures on the basis of the idea that there is only
one best culture to fulfil economic objectives; how economics
contributes to the erosion of the democratic idea; and, finally,
the opposition of economic globalisation to democracy.
The main conclusion of the book is that enhancing human rights
in the global economy era demands a radical transformation of
of the economy. This transformation should be characterised by
reinstating the primacy of the person over the economy, by
replacing economics at the service of human dignity. One of the
aspects of this transformation concerns the need for a democratic
control of the market. This democratic control means that people
affected by economic decisions should be able to participate in the
making of those decisions. In other words, the book proposes the
recognition of economics as essentially a political science, and,
thereby, the rehabilitation of politics within economics'
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