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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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Affluence and Responsibility

Affluence and Responsibility

(p.111) 5 Affluence and Responsibility
Basic Rights

Henry Shue

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses the idea that the fulfillment of subsistence rights would probably place inordinate, if not unlimited, burdens on everyone except the poorest. It would not be possible, and it is not necessary in order to fulfill subsistence rights, to transfer so much wealth and income from the currently affluent to the currently deprived that today's affluent will be reduced to a level only marginally better than subsistence. Nevertheless, since no calculation of the costs of fulfilling subsistence rights universally can be precise, one cannot rule out the possibility that those with the duties to aid the deprived will suffer some decline in the quality of their lives as a result of making the required transfers. In general, there is no reason why the performance of duties, especially duties correlative to basic rights, should cost the bearers of the duties nothing. But, as the broader population objection complains, it is possible for the costs to be unreasonably high.

Keywords:   subsistence rights, transfer of wealth, transfer of income, affluence, affluent people, deprived people, correlative duties, basic rights

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