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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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Right-grounded Duties and the Institutional Turn

Right-grounded Duties and the Institutional Turn

Chapter:
(p.153) 7 Right-grounded Duties and the Institutional Turn
Source:
Basic Rights
Author(s):

Henry Shue

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691202280.003.0007

This chapter details how the allocation of duties among bearers depends upon the specification of which duties need to be performed, and hence allocated. Unfortunately, which duties can reasonable be specified also depends upon which allocations of duties among bearers are generally reasonable and, most specifically, fair. The depth of the difficulty here emerges from the contrast between the institutional and the interactional perspectives. This difficulty has two elements. First, one can reason, as it were, from either end of the problem. On the one hand, one can take an institutional perspective on the honoring of rights by asking: what institutions would need to be functioning effectively in order for people generally to have secure access to what they have rights to? On the other hand, one can ask: which allocations of right-grounded duties would be fair to individual duty-bearers? The second element of the difficulty, however, is that while these reciprocal requirements are not contradictory, there unfortunately is also no guarantee that they can both be satisfied simultaneously in fact. The chapter then recommends an institutional turn in thinking about human rights.

Keywords:   institutions, basic rights, right-grounded duties, individual duty-bearers, human rights, allocation of duties

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