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  • Author: David Scheffer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: If the future of human rights is dependent on the capacity of the state to fulfill them, then one must focus on how the private sector interfaces with public values—an interface that directly affects how billions of people survive both economically and with dignity. During the last few years reports about multinational corporations shielding phenomenal profits from meaningful taxation have troubled governments and individual taxpayers alike. But there has been little effort to associate such tax avoidance schemes with corporate abdication of responsibility f or advancing critical societal goals. Instead, much of the ensuing debate has centered on how to tax corporate profits fairly and more efficiently. While the ideas being marketed in this area are enlightening, there has been less discussion about why corporate taxation is a worthy public goal or what corporations should do voluntarily. The linkage between corporate tax avoidance and “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) has not yet been clearly drawn, but the moment has arrived to bridge the gap. That task may necessitate changing, fundamentally, the ethical framework within which corporate officers, boards of directors, shareholders, tax advisers, and stakeholders in general operate.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: This issue features essays by Roger Berkowitz on "Drones and the Question of 'The Human'" and Alan Sussman on the philosophical foundations of human rights; a special centennial roundtable on "The Future of Human Rights," featuring Beth A. Simmons, Philip Alston, James W. Nickel, Jack Donnelly, and Andrew Gilmour; a review essay by Jens Bartelson on empire and sovereignty; and book reviews by Dale Jamieson, Tom Bailey, and Simon Cotton.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Author: Alan Sussman
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: The title of this essay is rather ambitious and the space available is hardly sufficient to examine two words of almost limitless expanse—“human rights”—whether standing alone or in tandem. This requires that I begin with (and remained disciplined by) what a teacher of mine, Leo Strauss, called “low facts.” My low facts are these: We call ourselves humans because we have certain characteristics that define our nature. We are social and political animals, as Aristotle noted, and possess attributes not shared by other animals. The ancients noted this, of course, when they defined our principal behavioral and cognitive distinction from the rest of the natural world as the faculty of speech. The Greek word for this, logos, means much more than speech, as it connotes word and reason and, in the more common understanding, talking and writing, praising and criticizing, persuading and reading. While other animals communicate by making sounds of attraction or warning, leaving smells, and so on, none read newspapers, make speeches, publish their memoirs, or write poetry.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Author: Dale Jamieson
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: This is the inaugural volume in the Amnesty International Global Ethics Series, edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah. John Broome, the author of this volume, is a trained economist, distinguished philosopher, and a lead author of the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. He is very well suited to fulfill the mandate of the series, which is to "broaden the set of issues taken up by the human rights community." It is thus surprising that the book does not discuss human rights (or rights at all), nor locate itself in relation to much of the relevant literature. Nevertheless, this is an excellent book, displaying the author's characteristic virtues of clarity, concision, precision, and intellectual honesty.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Author: Tom Bailey
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: In Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency , Lea Ypi proposes a novel approach to political theory in relation to the issue of global equality. She fiercely criticizes the tendency to abstract from the realities of political agency in "ideal" theorizing, since, she insists, such abstraction renders the conclusions drawn practically irrelevant and indeterminate. But she also refuses to treat current political practices and norms as given constraints in the manner of "nonideal" theorizing, on the grounds that the selection of relevant practices and norms is always morally loaded and their analysis inevitably conservative. Instead, Ypi proposes that theory begin with a specific political conflict, diagnose the failure of existing practices and norms to resolve it, and, in this light, develop better practices and norms. She calls this approach "dialectical" insofar as it considers political practices and norms to develop progressively in resolving emerging political problems, and "activist" or "avant-garde" in its responding and contributing to political change through appropriate political agents.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Author: Simon Cotton
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: We are all familiar with the claim that the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are unjust or otherwise objectionable. Yet this claim faces substantial hurdles in motivating corrective action. Most significantly, wealthy states face political pressures against moderating their bargaining positions. But this is not the only problem. First, there remains the suspicion that these rules are not, in fact, objectionable, or that they are only mildly so—perhaps "bad" but not "unjust." After all, no country is forced to be subject to them; the WTO is a voluntary institution. Second, we still have to determine what rules would be just. Is it really the job of the WTO to compensate for inherent inequalities between countries? In this book, the first philosophical work devoted exclusively to "fair trade," Aaron James seeks to combat the second of these challenges directly. In doing so, he also combats the first.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Author: Roger Berkowitz
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Domino's Pizza is testing "Domicopter" drones to deliver pizzas, which will compete with Taco Bell's "Tacocopter" drones. Not to be outdone, Amazon is working on an army of delivery drones that will cut out the postal service. In Denmark, farmers use drones to inspect fields for the appearance of harmful weeds, which reduces herbicide use as the drones directly apply pesticides only where it is needed. Environmentalists send drones into glacial caves or into deep waters, gathering data that would be too dangerous or expensive for human scientists to procure. Federal Express dreams of pilotless aerial and terrestrial drones that will transport goods more cheaply, reliably, and safely than vehicles operated by humans. Human rights activists deploy drones over conflict zones, intelligently searching for and documenting abuses for both rhetorical and legal purposes. Aid agencies send unmanned drones to villages deep in jungles or behind enemy lines, maneuvering hazardous terrain to bring food and supplies to endangered populations. Medical researchers are experimenting with injecting drone blood cells into humans that can mimic good cholesterol carriers or identify and neutralize cancerous cells. Parents in Vermont are using flying drones to accompany children to school, giving a whole new meaning to helicopter parenting. And Pilobolus, a New York dance company, has choreographed a dance in which drones and humans engage each other in the most human of acts: the creation of art.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Denmark
  • Author: Beth A. Simmons
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: The modern human rights movement is at a critical juncture in its history. It has been nearly seventy years since the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and some of the oldest and most active human rights organizations have been operating around the world for about forty years. More than twenty years have passed since the end of the cold war, and the time when people spoke in triumphal terms of the global success of Western values is now a fading memory. International human rights are ensconced as firmly as ever in international law and institutions, but what about the future of the "human rights movement"?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Author: Philip Alston
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Too much of the debate about how respect for human rights can be advanced on a global basis currently revolves around crisis situations involving so-called mass atrocity crimes and the possibility of addressing abuse through the use of military force. This preoccupation, as understandable as it is, serves to mask much harder questions of how to deal with what might be termed silent and continuous atrocities, such as gross forms of gender or ethnic discrimination or systemic police violence, in ways that are achievable, effective, and sustainable. This more prosaic but ultimately more important quest is often left to, or perhaps expropriated by, international lawyers. Where the politician often finds solace in the deployment of military force, the international lawyer turns instinctively to the creation of a new mechanism of some sort. Those of modest inclination might opt for a committee or perhaps an inquiry procedure. The more ambitious, however, might advocate the establishment of a whole new court. And surely the most "visionary" of such proposals is one calling for the creation of a World Court of Human Rights. A version of this idea was put forward in the 1940s, but garnered no support. The idea has now been revived, in great detail, and with untrammeled ambition, under the auspices of an eminent group of international human rights law specialists.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Author: James W. Nickel
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Like people born shortly after World War II, the international human rights movement recently had its sixty-fifth birthday. This could mean that retirement is at hand and that death will come in a few decades. After all, the formulations of human rights that activists, lawyers, and politicians use today mostly derive from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the world in 1948 was very different from our world today: the cold war was about to break out, communism was a strong and optimistic political force in an expansionist phase, and Western Europe was still recovering from the war. The struggle against entrenched racism and sexism had only just begun, decolonization was in its early stages, and Asia was still poor (Japan was under military reconstruction, and Mao's heavy-handed revolution in China was still in the future). Labor unions were strong in the industrialized world, and the movement of women into work outside the home and farm was in its early stages. Farming was less technological and usually on a smaller scale, the environmental movement had not yet flowered, and human-caused climate change was present but unrecognized. Personal computers and social networking were decades away, and Earth's human population was well under three billion.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia, United Nations