The satanic mill : human rights and the responsibility to counteract

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Schrempf, Tessa Antonia
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This thesis argues that the free market doctrine and the institutional framework it requires create an environment that, while having a huge impact on people’s lives, does not provide for externalities such as the realisation of human rights. Given that states have a primary responsibility to ensure people’s de facto enjoyment of their human rights, governments have to reclaim fiscal space and assume a regulatory responsibility with respect to the market environment. This leads to restoring the primacy of the human being over that of the market. Human rights are considered to be a suitable vehicle to satisfy this need. In order to adequately respond to the complexity of the market environment, it is vital to revisit the state’s human rights obligations. The approach suggested understands the market as one of the sources of deprivation that lead to human rights violations. In order to specify the state duties this may entail, this thesis argues for an alternative human rights theory, the ‘responsibility to counteract’. The feasibility of the responsibility to counteract is shown by briefly applying it to the financial and economic crisis in Europe in the early 21st century and tackles inter alia rising poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Second semester University: University of Helsinki
business, economic crisis, economics, human rights, international obligations