The right to "de-development": restriction of living standards of affluent people as a complementary aspect to the human rights regime

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Toussaint, Benjamin
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In light of the environmental constraints humanity faces today, a different prosperity model and general lifestyle, less focused on economic growth is necessary to achieve equity in economic wealth and adequate living standards for all. Mainstream development and environment frameworks largely neglect strategies that focus on behavioural adaptation to these environmental constraints. It is the explicit vocation of the de-development approach to establish a framework of ethics, strategies and policies able to set boundaries on endless economic growth and the excessive, resource-exhausting consumption of luxury goods and services. At the individual level this implicates a restriction of an undue living standard, respectively an undue individual economic capacity to afford endless goods and services. A deliberate interference with individuals’ lifestyles implies a certain risk of state power abuse. Therefore it is beneficial to scrutinise de-development strategies and policies with regard to human rights compliancy. A Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to de-development, applying human rights norms and methodologies to the de-development concept does exactly this. Thus, the human rights framework provides structural and legal means to develop an ethical approach to dedevelopment. This thesis examines the context surrounding the de-development issue, the theoretical background of the concept and its integration into the human rights framework.
Second semester University: University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen.
climatic changes, environment, environmental ethics, human ecology, human rights, poverty, sustainable development