Globalization & Economic Human Rights

“Globalization today is most often associated with economic interdependence, deregulation, and a dominance of the marketplace that includes a shifting of responsibilities from state to non-state actors.”

This description emphasizes on non-state actors such as international institutions, multilateral enterprises, and individuals, which became the focus of power and autonomy in the new globalized world era. Indeed the obligation of protecting human rights must not weigh only on states (which are  the necessary instruments for the provision of security and welfare for their citizens) because other actors as well have a prominent role in possible human rights abuses. “States, international organizations and multinational and national corporations ought to submit all policies that promote globalization to a “human rights filter” that especially focuses on economic rights.” Globalization, has created powerful non-state actors that may violate human rights in ways that were not contemplated during the development of the modern human rights movement. This gap within international human rights legislation has allowed the occurrence of severe abuses that have been addressed by scholars such as Zygmunt Bauman (disconnection of power from obligations for international investors leads to abuse of human rights). However, the interdependence factor of the “borderless world” leaves room for non-punitive sanctions that produce the enforcement component of law which is contained within the economic relationship itself. For example, the board of a company conducting economic activity within the borders of the European Union would honor the warning comment of executive director of Human Rights Watch and change its policy in accordance.

It is disputed whether the globalisation process negatively affects human rights development. However, through promoting “social changes, democratisation process, economic distribution, the rule of law, and promotion of civil and political rights” globalisation process might lead to a positive outcome in the long term. Howard-Hassmann argues that despite of its ‘side effects’ (such as “degrading traditional societies, local values, and local economies”) globalisation is not only inevitable, but also the only path to long-term growth. As globalisation promotes human rights in the long run, global human rights regime remedies the dangers of the global economic system.

World-wide integration of the economic system is a defining characteristic of globalisation, and, capitalist economy is the main beneficiary from it. Consequentally %90 of the world population have adopted capitalist model of production.  Historical and political developments of certain countries (namely, China and Russia) left them outside of capitalist economy, nonetheless these countries have decided to join the world capitalist economy in order to improve standards of living and political and social arrangements. However, short term negative effects occurring from globalisation prove to be grievous violations. Societies entering the world capitalist economy suffer severe social disruption and exploitation of labor, including young women workers and child labour. Considering that long term stretches to  at least 150 200 years it is problematic to argue that present generation must suffer so they might reach a ‘better’ future. Nonetheless, if globalisation is inevitable during the transition the damages must be limited as much as possible.

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