Human Rights and World Trade: Hunger in International Society

By Ana Gonzalez-Pelaez | Go to book overview

6

Conclusion

Assessment of Vincent's basic rights project

This chapter threads together the arguments of the book in order to draw conclusions about Vincent's basic rights project. The first section reassesses the relevance of Vincent's approach for analysing the basic right to food in international society. The focus is not on the philosophical merits of basic rights but on how viable basic rights are as a project across the society of states. In the second section, I highlight and assess the neglected role of international political economy in Vincent's analysis.


The viability of the basic right to food

The existence of a universal basic right to food has now been accepted across international society. The normative, as well as the philosophic-political, grounds for such a right are well established in positive law (on international soft law grounds), giving this right an advantage with respect to the rest of the human rights discourse. There is even an agreement in international law about what constitutes freedom from hunger with a specific caloric measure. This normative consensus vindicates Vincent's desire to build a common floor of basic rights for the societies of the world through an inter-cultural dialogue. The normative consensus indicates that states from opposite corners of the world have come together on the grounds of positive law and have signed international agreements that recognise the right to food regardless of their cultural, political or social background.

However, on the practical front, the scenario changes when examined from the perspectives of solidarism and pluralism. By concentrating on the right to subsistence, and particularly on freedom from starvation, Vincent attempted to exclude ideological obligations from human rights discourse. For Vincent (1986a: 126), the right to subsistence makes provisions for both 'unity and diversity' and does not favour any particular culture. He did not identify what these 'ideological obstacles' were, but after exploring his project in detail it is clear that there were many ideological hurdles both outside the English school (controversies surrounding the human rights

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Human Rights and World Trade: Hunger in International Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Series Editor's Preface x
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Problem of Hunger 6
  • 2 - Basic Human Rights 32
  • 3 - Basic Rights in International Society 53
  • 4 - International Trade and the Options for Eradicating Hunger 78
  • 5 - Can International Society Eliminate Hunger? 115
  • 6 - Conclusion 134
  • Notes 143
  • Bibliography 145
  • Index 168
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