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Economic Policy and Human Rights
Holding Governments to Account
Economic Policy and Human Rights presents a powerful critique of three decades of neoliberal economic policies, assessed from the perspective of human rights norms. In doing so, it brings together two areas of thought and action that have hitherto been separate: progressive economics concerned with promoting economic justice and human development; and human rights analysis and advocacy.
Focussing on in-depth comparative case studies of the USA and Mexico and looking at issues such as public expenditure, taxation and international trade, the book shows that heterodox economic analysis benefits greatly from a deeper understanding of a human rights framework. This is something progressive economists have often been skeptical of, regarding it as too deeply entrenched in 'Western' norms, discourses and agendas. Such a categorical rejection is unwarranted. Instead, human rights norms can provide an invaluable ethical and accountability framework, challenging a narrow focus on efficiency and growth.
A vital book for anyone interested in human rights and harnessing economics to create a better world.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Economists have long struggled to find frameworks for integrating concerns of justice with economic policy formation. This refreshingly novel approach to assessing the effectiveness of macroeconomic policy offers a timely alternative lens that identifies human well-being as the main guidepost. Its most striking achievement lies in clearly delineating the linkages between human rights and macroeconomic policies, providing a tool to hold governments accountable to their human rights commitments.' - Stephanie Seguino, University of Vermont
'An insightful exploration of the relationship between human rights and economic policies. This book asks how we should evaluate economic policies in the light of the human rights commitments that states have signed up to, and offers practical tools for assessing the justice of alternative economic policy choices. In the current economic climate, the messages and frameworks for analysis should be taken seriously by policy makers and their advisors. For activists and advocacy groups, it offers the language to counter economic policy choices that undermine progress towards the realization of rights.' - Sarah Cook, Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development
'Recommended reading for anyone committed to social and economic justice.' - Ceasefire