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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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Correlative Duties

Correlative Duties

(p.35) 2 Correlative Duties
Basic Rights

Henry Shue

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines some of the reasons why it sometimes appears that although people have basic security rights, the right, if any, to even the physical necessities of existence like minimal health care, food, clothing, shelter, unpolluted water, and unpolluted air is somehow less urgent or less basic. Frequently it is asserted or assumed that a highly significant difference between rights to physical security and rights to subsistence is that they are respectively “negative” rights and “positive” rights. The chapter offers some examples that clearly illustrate that the honoring of subsistence rights sometimes involves action no more positive than the honoring of security rights does. It also presents two theses about economic deprivation. The chapter then suggests that with every basic right, there are three types of correlative duties: duties to avoid depriving; duties to protect from deprivation; and duties to aid the deprived.

Keywords:   basic rights, security rights, physical security, subsistence rights, negative rights, positive rights, economic deprivation, correlative duties

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