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Can Globalization Promote Human Rights?

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann

Publication Year: 2010

Published by: Penn State University Press

Series: Essays on Human Rights

Front Cover

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Title Page

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pp. viii


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pp. ix-xi


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pp. xiii-xiv

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1. Human Rights and Globalization

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pp. 1-17

One day in December 2007, I stood in my local drugstore contemplating which seasonal greeting cards I should buy. Several packages imported from the United States offered twelve cards for Can$14.99. One package imported from China offered twenty cards for Can$5.99. I debated over whether to buy the Chinese cards: Were the workers who produced them exploited? Should I boycott...

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2. Globalization, Poverty, and Inequality

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pp. 18-32

Before presenting my argument about the relationship between human rights and globalization, I want to debunk an assumption sometimes found in human rights literature and among some activists critical of globalization: namely, that globalization has caused an increase in world poverty. Thomas, for example, argued in the late 1990s that two-thirds...

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3. Global Neoliberalism

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pp. 33-48

Globalization is the second great transformation—the second time that capitalism has transformed international economic and social relations in much of the world. In The Great Transformation (1944), Karl Polanyi explained the economic, social, and political changes that occurred in Europe, particularly Britain, from the last two decades of the eighteenth...

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4. A Positive Model

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pp. 49-65

In this chapter and the next, I propose two complex ideal-type models of positive and negative relationships among globalization, economic development, and both civil/political and economic human rights. “Ideal type” is a phrase coined by the early twentieth-century German sociologist Max Weber. Ideal types do not describe any actual existing situations...

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5. Negative Models

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pp. 66-82

Chapter 4 discussed the theoretical possibility that in the long term, globalization could improve human rights worldwide. This chapter presents the alternate theoretical view: namely, that globalization is more likely to adversely affect human rights in the long term. Following the organization of chapter 4, I discuss simple models of a possible negative...

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6. Global Human Rights Governance

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pp. 84-98

Human rights are frequently regarded only as dependent consequences of globalization: globalization affects human rights, but human rights do not affect globalization. Yet the principles, laws, and practices of global human rights governance independently affect both elite implementation of globalization and social action in favor of or against it. A major...

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7. Civil Society

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pp. 99-114

Human rights have leapfrogged not only to new bearers of human rights obligations but also to new advocates for human rights. Increasingly, global governance responds to globalization from below, as citizens participate in developing rules for the global market economy and recommending the constraints and obligations they believe ought to be placed...

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8. The Politics of Resentment

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pp. 116-130

The preceding two chapters suggest that one might be cautiously optimistic about human rights leapfrogging. Although the early twenty-first century was a time of world insecurity caused in part by globalization, both the human rights regime and civil society activism demonstrated some limited capacity to control those aspects of globalization that were more harmful than beneficial. Yet the damage caused by, or perceived to have been caused by, globalization may already be so great that slow, steady...

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9. The Primacy of Politics

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pp. 131-149

Critics of globalization look to different types of solutions to its adverse aspects. One proposed solution for inequality and poverty, whether they are caused by globalization or not, is redistribution of some of the world’s resources. Another proposed solution is to institute domestic authoritarian socialism to control a country’s relations with the world economy...


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pp. 151-168


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pp. 169-182

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780271053530
E-ISBN-10: 0271053534
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271036915
Print-ISBN-10: 0271036915

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 10 charts/graphs, 3 tables
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Essays on Human Rights