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The Debate on the Human Rights Movement’s Response to Economic Equality


Yale historian and law professor Samuel Moyn sparked an ongoing debate about the state of the human rights movement with his book Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World. Moyn’s thesis: that the modern human rights movement has seriously damaged its own effectiveness by failing to address growing economic inequality over the past four decades.

Aryeh Neier, president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations and a former executive director of Human Rights Watch, disagrees. He argues that inherently complex decisions around how society allocates resources require the democratic process. In his view, social justice lies fundamentally outside the human rights framework and is badly served by appealing to it.

Can human rights flourish in conditions of increasing economic disenfranchisement, and is the human rights movement equipped with the proper tools to address structural inequality?

Watch the debate between Moyn and Neier at a recent Open Society event above.

Is the Human Rights Movement in Crisis? (July 11, 2018)

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