Minding the Gap: Global Finance and Human Rights. - Ethics & International Affairs

Minding the Gap: Global Finance and Human Rights.

By Ethics & International Affairs

  • Release Date - Published: 2011-06-22
  • Book Genre: Politics & Current Events
  • Author: Ethics & International Affairs
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Minding the Gap: Global Finance and Human Rights. Ethics & International Affairs read online review & book description:

Although there now exists a large and growing body of literature and initiatives on finance and human rights separately, the integration of the two fields has so far been shallow and narrowly focused around a few key areas that are most easily comprehensible to those without specialist financial knowledge. Large swaths of the financial system that have important consequences for human rights realization have barely been touched by human rights analysis. The fact that high-profile initiatives, such as the Equator Principles and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, have so many adherents among leading financial firms, and the fact that most, if not all, such firms now have corporate human rights policies in place, should not mislead one into thinking that a comprehensive embedding of human rights principles into the global financial system has taken place. (1) As a recent report from the Danish Institute for Human Rights eloquently states: The ongoing financial crisis and the devastation it has wrought, particularly in respect to socioeconomic rights, have served as an urgent call to human rights lawyers to address the lacuna. In light of the crisis it is clear that human rights can be affected at the macro level by complex financial processes and activities that are not readily amenable to existing methodologies in the finance-human rights sphere, and that new thinking is required to address this gap. Moreover, it is clear from the scale of the crisis that financial theory itself does not currently have clear answers to the systemic failings that occurred, and that the assumptions that underlie the financial system itself--namely, that free markets are efficient and contribute most effectively to maximizing human welfare--cannot be taken at face value. As such, there is perhaps scope in financial thinking to broaden the terms of analysis to include greater focus on the real impact that international finance has on the lives of real people--and on their capacity to enjoy their human rights, which are enshrined in international law and national constitutions.

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