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To "fight for your rights," or anyone else's, is not just to debate principles but to haggle over budgets. The simple insight that all legally enforceable rights cost money reminds us that freedom is not violated by a government that taxes and spends, but requires it—and requires a citizenry vigilant about how money is allocated. Drawing from these practical, commonsense notions, The Cost of Rights provides a useful corrective to the all-or-nothing feel of much political debate nowadays (The Economist).
Countries solemnly intone their commitment to human rights, and they ratify endless international treaties and conventions designed to signal that commitment. At the same time, there has been no marked decrease in human rights violations, even as the language of human rights has become the dominant mode of international moral criticism. Well-known violators like Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan have sat on the U.N. Council on Human Rights. But it's not just the usual suspects that flagrantly disregard the treaties. Brazil pursues extrajudicial killings. South Africa employs violence against protestors. India tolerate child labor and slavery. The United States tortures. In The Twilight of Human Rights Law--the newest addition to Oxford's highly acclaimed Inalienable Rights series edited by Geoffrey Stone--the eminent legal scholar Eric A. Posner argues that purposefully unenforceable human rights treaties are at the heart of the world's failure to address human rights violations. Because countries fundamentally disagree about what the public good requires and how governments should allocate limited resources in order to advance it, they have established a regime that gives them maximum flexibility--paradoxically characterized by a huge number of vague human rights that encompass nearly all human activity, along with weak enforcement machinery that churns out new rights but cannot enforce any of them. Posner looks to the foreign aid model instead, contending that we should judge compliance by comprehensive, concrete metrics like poverty reduction, instead of relying on ambiguous, weak, and easily manipulated checklists of specific rights. With a powerful thesis, a concise overview of the major developments in international human rights law, and discussions of recent international human rights-related controversies, The Twilight of Human Rights Law is an indispensable contribution to this important area of international law from a leading scholar in the field.
Making, amending, and interpreting constitutions is a political game that can yield widespread suffering or secure a nation's liberty and prosperity. Given these high stakes, Robert Cooter argues that constitutional theory should trouble itself less with literary analysis and arguments over founders' intentions and focus much more on the real-world consequences of various constitutional provisions and choices. Pooling the best available theories from economics and political science, particularly those developed from game theory, Cooter's economic analysis of constitutions fundamentally recasts a field of growing interest and dramatic international importance. By uncovering the constitutional incentives that influence citizens, politicians, administrators, and judges, Cooter exposes fault lines in alternative forms of democracy: unitary versus federal states, deep administration versus many elections, parliamentary versus presidential systems, unicameral versus bicameral legislatures, common versus civil law, and liberty versus equality rights. Cooter applies an efficiency test to these alternatives, asking how far they satisfy the preferences of citizens for laws and public goods. To answer Cooter contrasts two types of democracy, which he defines as competitive government. The center of the political spectrum defeats the extremes in "median democracy," whereas representatives of all the citizens bargain over laws and public goods in "bargain democracy." Bargaining can realize all the gains from political trades, or bargaining can collapse into an unstable contest of redistribution. States plagued by instability and contests over redistribution should move towards median democracy by increasing transaction costs and reducing the power of the extremes. Specifically, promoting median versus bargain democracy involves promoting winner-take-all elections versus proportional representation, two parties versus multiple parties, referenda versus representative democracy, and special governments versus comprehensive governments. This innovative theory will have ramifications felt across national and disciplinary borders, and will be debated by a large audience, including the growing pool of economists interested in how law and politics shape economic policy, political scientists using game theory or specializing in constitutional law, and academic lawyers. The approach will also garner attention from students of political science, law, and economics, as well as policy makers working in and with new democracies where constitutions are being written and refined.
Politically, as well as philosophically, concerns with human rights have permeated many of the most important debates on social justice worldwide for fully a half-century. Henry Shue's 1980 book on Basic Rights proved to be a pioneering contribution to those debates, and one that continues to elicit both critical and constructive comment. Global Basic Rights brings together many of the most influential contemporary writers in political philosophy and international relations - Charles Beitz, Robert Goodin, Christian Reus-Smit, Andrew Hurrell, Judith Lichtenberg, Elizabeth Ashford, Thomas Pogge, Neta Crawford, Richard Miller, David Luban, Jeremy Waldron and Simon Caney- to explore some of the most challenging theoretical and practical questions that Shue's work provokes. These range from the question of the responsibilities of the global rich to redress severe poverty to the permissibility of using torture to gain information to fight international terrorism. The contributors explore the continuing value of the idea of "basic rights" in understanding moral challenges as diverse as child labor and global climate change.
The book analyses the legal nation of human rights as indivisible, interrelated and interdependent rights by analysing case law from the European Court of Human Rights. The book concludes that the nation of human rights as indivisible right as a legal content and that aspects of several socio-economic rights are in fact protected by the Convention.
Regulation and Economic Analysis: A Critique Over Two Centuries argues that long experience with the practice of regulation creates a broad anti-intervention consensus among economists. This consensus is based on comparison of real intervention to real markets rather than an ideological preconception. It is shown that economic theory can support all possible positions on intervention. Much theory is too abstract to support any policy position; many arguments about how intervention might help contain qualifications expressing doubts about whether the potential can be realized; many theories illustrate the drawbacks of intervention. The vast literature on these issues concentrates either on specific cases or polemics that exaggerate both sides of the argument. Regulation and Economic Analysis seeks to show the depth of the discontent, develop interpretations of economic theory that follow from skepticism about statism and provide selected illustrations. The discussion begins with examination of general equilibrium theory and proceeds to discuss market failure with stress on monopoly and particularly what is deemed excessive concern with predatory behavior. International trade issues, transaction costs, property rights, economic theories of government, the role of special institutions such as contracts, the defects of macroeconomic and equity arguments for regulating individual markets, environmental economics and the defects of public land management policies are examined.