Human Rights – Law and Economy

But I wouldn’t start from here … – Contribution to Theorising Human Rights

Indeed, it is easy to say what we frequently suggest as solution to some of the problems – the Irish way: “But I wouldn’t start from here!” And indeed, it seems to be a simple thing, just starting from somewhere else and going a smooth part, just forward. The one thing is, of course, that we frequently do not really have a choice: we are just thrown into something, 18th Brumaire: history as nightmare, made by us but under conditions we find, that out of reach for us. But for the sake of truth, don’t we have to admit that we don’t think much about from where we start – not taking account of the variety of options as conceptualised by way of a counter-reality by Musil in his  “Mann ohne Eigenshaften” (“The Man without Qualities”)?

Human Rights – Law and Economy

is the title I gave to a public lecture I had been invited to give in the series of lectures at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, a lecture which is part of my stay in Munich – generously supported by the MPI (and giving work-opportunities in the library that are tempting to stay there over night) – will present some of the tentative results of the on-going research. The aim is to see the connection between Human Rights (legislation) and economy not in terms of the need to strive for just distribution of the wealth of this planet. Rather, at the core of the work are conceptual considerations. Sure, it is correct to say Human Rights begin at the breakfast table, the need to avail of sufficient resources for everybody. But we should not forget that the greatest ‘injustice’ is a system that can claim justice on the formal level. Although this is an underlying topic of the current research – and the presentation – at its heart stands the question of different modes of production and the way in which this has repercussions in the reflection on human rights and vice versa: in which way human rights perspective may impact on developments of the mode of production.

On a very pragmatic and really trivial level, working here again for a while, one has to strive with the every day’s decision from where to start: the library, the desk work (including the need to do the homework, following from teaching in Finland, Hungary and Ireland) or with meeting colleagues for shoptalk or simply for gossiping.

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  1. […] on over the last weeks: emphasising in Bonn during the Global Forum on Human Rights, as part of the presentation to the MPI and during discussions with colleagues: again and again criticising the holy trinity as […]



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