Human Rights and Economic Inequality

Project: Research

Project Details


The project investigates the concept of human rights (HR) and its relation to economic inequality. A common view, challenged in this project, is that such inequality is not a human rights concern as long as basic needs are met. Research in economic and public health show links between economic inequality and health- and democracy deficiencies. This has both practical and conceptual implications. Economic inequality has consequences for what doubtlessly are human rights, while not being treated as part of what the concept of HR is about. The project addresses this asymmetry. Three areas are in focus. First, the formal features of HR: claims that correlate with some agent’s obligations. The project seeks to defend the argument that objects of claims can be long term, insecure goals, not only immediately realizable goods. Second, what HR are: rather than pre-political ethical phenomena, the view tested here is to see them as relational and as institutionalized powers to act. The third theme focuses on economic inequality as not only a matter of distribution of resources but as a factor affecting political and social inclusion, representation, accountability and norms and argues that HR need to relate to economic inequality on a systemic level. The project aims to develop a human rights concept capable of handling dynamics between political, social, and economic hierarchies. Another aim is methodological and concerns approaching concepts from the point of view of what functions one wants them to fill.
Effective start/end date2017/01/012021/12/31

UKÄ subject classification

  • Philosophy

Free keywords

  • human rights
  • economic inequality
  • socioeconomic inquality
  • economic rights