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.
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