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International Law

12 Jan 2017Government and Law Essays


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Essay about civil and political rights are a pivotal issue for all nations large and small, regardless of economic status, population size, military muscle, etc. This struggle for rights brings up the issue of whether economic rights, the right to a job and a minimum standard of living, should be equated with civil and political rights and to what extent this would affect American human rights policy.

Rights versus Responsibilities

With any rights come responsibilities, and indeed, this has never been more apparent or important that when speaking of the association between civil/political, and economic rights. In America, the Declaration of Independence, which lays the foundation for all of the rights of American citizens, provides for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness- not a guarantee of it. In this sense, the American citizen is afforded economic rights such as the right to engage in meaningful work for which they can earn wages which are regulated by law to not drop below a certain level and having no limit in terms of how high a wage someone can earn.

Also, the governmental organizations within the federal government provide for a minimum standard of living for all Americans in terms of making suitable housing, healthcare, food and social services available to those who do not have the financial means to purchase these things for themselves. All of the rights to earn, and receive these fruits of the democratic system are available to anyone regardless of race, political affiliation, religious belief, gender, physical condition, and the like. This being said, however, the rights that the people enjoy are also connected to responsibilities.

Ideally, the inpidual will use all of their abilities and ambitions to contribute to not only their own quality of life through earning their own living, paying for what they need in life on their own and providing for their families, but also to try to give back to society by paying taxes, obeying the law, and helping to maintain the common good. Therefore the dynamic between rights and responsibilities allows us to correctly answer issue of whether economic rights, the right to a job and a minimum standard of living, should be equated with civil and political rights and to what extent this would affect American human rights policy.

Economic Rights as they Relate to American Human Rights

Americans undoubtedly have the right to pursue a job, and pieces are in place to protect a minimum standard of living, but if one wonders if Americans should be guaranteed a job and minimum standard of living, the answer is no, but also, that answer should be followed with the assertion that Americans should be guaranteed the privilege to seek a job and to work for a minimum standard of living (Farber, 2004), lest the United States turn into a worse welfare state than it already has become over the years. If no one has to work, and they are promised certain benefits without having to work with them, it would be very difficult for inpiduals to be motivated to work at all, and the freedoms of America would be turned into a crutch for the lazy and uninspired.

Civil and political rights, in this context, should be separated from economic rights in American human rights policy, for they are two vastly different things. Absolutely, Americans should be assured their rights as granted by the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, for without these, nothing else in the nation would function properly. These rights should in turn be used for inpiduals to work, earn wages, and contribute to the economy. Internationally, other nations would be well advised to do this also, to save them from disaster. In closing, it would appear that the key to civil liberty is economic liberty.


Farber, D. (2004, September). And Welfare for All? Cass Sunstein's Case for Inalienable Economic Rights. Washington Monthly, 36, 54+.

Learn more:
Introduction into American Government The Government’s Transition The Importance of Adhering to Various Articles

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