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Basic RightsSubsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy: 40th Anniversary Edition$
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Henry Shue

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691202280

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691202280.001.0001

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Security and Subsistence

Security and Subsistence

(p.13) 1 Security and Subsistence
Basic Rights

Henry Shue

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the general structure of a moral right, as well as basic rights. It considers why people have a basic right to physical security—a right that is basic not to be subjected to murder, torture, mayhem, rape, or assault. The main reason for discussing security rights was to make explicit the basic assumptions that support the usual judgment that security rights are basic rights. The chapter then assesses whether matters other than physical security should also be basic rights. It will emerge that subsistence, or minimal economic security, can also be shown to be as well justified for treatment as a basic right as physical security is. Minimal economic security, or subsistence, refer to unpolluted air, unpolluted water, adequate food, adequate clothing, adequate shelter, and minimal preventive public health care.

Keywords:   moral right, basic rights, physical security, security mrights, subsistence, economic security, subsistence rights, minimal economic security

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