The World Trade Organization and Human Rights

The World Trade Organization and Human Rights

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Edited by Sarah Joseph, David Kinley and Jeff Waincymer

This collection of essays from leading academics examines the connection between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and human rights issues, a topic which has provoked significant debate, particularly in the decade since the collapsed WTO talks in Seattle in 1999.

Chapter 6: International Economic Justice: Is a Principled Liberalism Possible?

Patrick Emerton

Subjects: economics and finance, international economics, law - academic, human rights, international economic law, trade law, politics and public policy, human rights


Patrick Emerton Ted Honderich writes: What is a good life? For a start, a good life is one that goes on long enough [. . .] Some people, because of their societies, have average lifetimes of about seventyeight years. Some other people, because of their different societies, live on average about forty years [. . .] [M]any people in the second group, those people who pull its average down to forty [. . .] have half-lives at best [. . .] The first group are in fact the populations of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Japan. The second group are the populations of the African countries of Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Sierra Leone.1 Honderich’s figures are drawn from the The World Guide 2001–2002. The figures in the 2005–2006 edition show that those in the first group have average life expectancies of 78.6 years, those in the second group 36.2 years.2 Less than half-lives. Radical differences in life expectancy are not all there is to this radical inequality; Thomas Pogge, for example, draws our attention to the obvious cause of half-lives, and of much other suffering as well, namely, extreme poverty.3 Whatever facts we take to best exemplify this inequality, such human suffering is plainly a matter of deep moral concern. But a consideration of life expectancies, or of inequalities of wealth and income, does not tell us exactly how, at the intellectual level, we should understand the problem in relation to 1 Ted Honderich, After the Terror (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh,...

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