Social and Economic Justice Essay

Topics:
Words:
2350
Pages:
5
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

Economic and Human rights laws address two spheres of social life that being the economy and human rights/politics. It also addresses two irreconcilable areas of government policy. There was a constant attempt at separating the two although this led to some disastrous results. Economic policies place a focus on the market with this usually results in inequality and discrimination. Human rights policies attempt to lessen this inequality and discrimination that may exist. The lessening of inequality and discrimination can make for an argument that Human rights are capable of achieving some form of social justice. Social justice more specifically justice in this case could be defined as the right thing to do to promote human dignity and economic growth. One of the main principles of social justice is equality. Taxes can be seen as one of the most important policy instruments that governments can use to generate the resources needed to realize the full range of human rights. The problem with taxation is that it is one of the major causes of inequality that exist. By applying human rights policy to taxation, it is possible to lessen the inequality but whether this achieves any form of social justice must be looked at. This would mean that there must be critique as to whether the policies bring forth any sort of equality within social justice or if merely leads to more inequality. If the right tax policy is used, then social justice can be achieved although it can result in some confusion for policymakers since there are some cases in which human rights can be used means of undermining social justice.

The laissez-faire ideology created an artificial binary the market which is the concern of economics and society which is the concern of law/politics. This artificial binary sought the separation of the two with the society subordinate to the market. Polanyi has argued that the market and economy are not autonomous or separate from society as the economy is always embedded in society.1 F Block and M Somers, The Power of Market Fundamentalism (Harvard University Press 2014), Chapter 1: Karl Polanyi and the Power of Ideas, pp. 8-11 and pp. 28-43 A society that is subordinate to the market emphasizes a stark utopianism of the self-regulating or free market which places limits on the scope of democratic politics. The problem with this is that it usually results in disaster for the society as it creates an issue where people cannot win the protections from the market that they need which results in them turning against that system. It is precisely because of this dynamic that democracy in many European countries was destroyed in the 1920s and 1930s. it also resulted in the Russian Revolution, the Great depression, the Wall Street crash, the rise of fascism, and the Cold War just to name a few. This resulted in alternative economic ideas legitimating active government management of economies dominated by national policies in the West and the East. This paved the way for social justice to be better integrated into economic policy. Of course, this did not last very long, and a separation between the market and society. Due to the failure of the market which resulted in the global financial crisis of 2007-08, there has been a call for the reintegration of law/politics in the economic realm. This reintegration is led by a desire for social justice, and at present many believe that human rights might be an important framework that can accomplish this.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place an order
document

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)2 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) followed by the treaties, declarations, and reports stemming from it include not only civil and political rights but also economic, social and cultural rights which can be viewed as both indivisible and interdependent with each other. The goal of social justice can be expressed in the realization of rights both civil and political and also economic, social, and cultural rights, the human rights approach allows for a kind of complex interaction between individual rights, collective rights, and collective action. Human rights can both enable and deny social justice and the fact that individuals need protection against the misuse of government power. 3 R Balakrishnan (et al eds), Rethinking Economic Policy for Social Justice (Routledge 2016), pp. 1-44 It can also require the use of the state’s power to realize the rights of an individual. It consists of a legal framework that can be used to contest unjust policies. Human rights emphasize the principles of non-discrimination and equality. It recognizes the fact that people need substantive equality and that all aspects of a person’s life need to be taken into consideration when ensuring that everyone can enjoy the same rights and freedoms. This can be seen as a Marxist view of justice and the strive for equality and non-discrimination that human rights perpetuates allows for it to achieve some form of social justice. The human rights framework does not tell governments which choices are the best. The state is required to set priorities through a democratically accountable process while ensuring that its core human rights obligations are met. Human rights are constantly evolving and open-ended as it is continuously being applied to new issues and in new contexts. It Facilitates ongoing discussion and deliberation as it can be a driver towards deliberative and substantive democracy. Many human rights principles have also been seen to have some important implications for economic policy and governance but are as of yet underexplored and rarely applied. Human rights help to change the terms of economic debate and introduce added concerns of social justice to reintegrate the political economy. The human rights framework allows us to look beyond the narrow view of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or income when evaluating economic outcomes. Human Rights focus more on the progressive improvements in a range of social outcomes with efficiency being important only if it can lead to a greater enjoyment of rights.4 ibid The human rights approach has been argued to provide a normative framework and procedures for contesting unjust policies that fail to realize the basic rights afforded to every individual.5 ibid This can be seen by many as a means by which social justice can be enforced. States enjoy a certain margin of discretion in selecting just how they decide to carry out their human rights obligation, 6 Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Maastricht, 22-26 January 1997 para 8 but they must ensure that they pay regard to Article 2.1 of the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)7 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This article states that each state party that is a part of the covenant should undertake steps, individually and through international assistance and cooperation to maximize their available resources. States should also consider General Comment 3 (CESCR)8 General Comment 3 which pertains to the avoidance of retrogression; the satisfaction of minimum essential levels of economic and social rights; and non-discrimination and equality when they attempt to maximize their resources. In addition, the Human Rights framework and economic policy principles of participation, transparency, and accountability must be adhered to as specified as they were specified in the Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the ICESCR (OHCHR 2005, Annex 6). 9 Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the ICESCR (OHCHR 2005, Annex 6). With all this in mind, it can be seen that human rights are an agent of social justice as it calls for equality, government accountability, and anti-discrimination.

As it was stated above tax policies are one of the most important policy instruments governments can use to generate the resources needed to realize the full range of human rights. For most states, taxation is a means of primary resource generation and in essence, can be seen as the maximum available resources. With the use of human rights as a means of assessing tax policy, we can go beyond the established policymaking of mainstream economics which puts emphasis on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and can ask the crucial question as to whether or not the policy is also aimed at providing the equitable access to the goods and services required for human dignity’s role in generating the maximum available resources needed to finance human right related expenditure. Taxation has been said to have many essential functions that are relevant to a state’s human rights obligation. Taxation firstly has a resourcing function that enables investment in public services and areas such as health, education, housing, justice, security, social protection, transport and communications10 M Todaro, and S Smith, Economic Development (Harlow, Pearson, 2006) 762. . Taxation secondly has a potentially redistributive function which can provide mechanisms for transferring and redistributing the wealth from upper to lower income groups so as to reduce income inequalities and disparities11 I Ortiz and M Cummins, Global Inequality: Beyond the Bottom Billion: A rapid review of income distribution in 141 countries (UNICEF, New York, 2011) 38–45.. . Thirdly taxation also has an accountability function, which helps to promote social citizenship and responsive government. Taxation can be seen as a manifestation of the social contract between state and citizen with the citizen being empowered to hold the state accountable as it is, she/he who finances the state12 OH Fjeldstad and M Moore (eds), Taxation and State-Building in Developing Countries: Capacity and Consent (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008). . It can be said that due to human rights, governments have an obligation to introduce and implement tax laws and systems of tax administrations which are capable of generating enough revenue for the realization of human rights, in ways that comply with other human rights obligations such as non-discrimination and equality, transparency, accountability and participation. It is possible for Taxes to be distinguished by the effect they have on the distribution of income and wealth. A proportional tax policy is one that imposes the same relative burden on all taxpayers in which tax liability and income grow in equal proportion. A progressive tax policy is one in which there exist proportional rise in the tax liability relative to the increase in income. Finally, a regressive tax policy is characterized by a less than proportional rise in the relative burden. Thus, progressive taxes are seen as reducing inequalities in income distribution, whereas regressive taxes can have the effect of increasing these inequalities

Looking at taxes through a Human Rights perspective allows for us to see that taxation is capable of tackling the inequality between ordinary citizens and the wealthy elites and businesses. There is an issue with equality and taxation and that is the question what the perceived notion of equality would be. Equality of condition is the notion that “people should be as equal as possible in relation to the central conditions of their lives which is about ensuring that everyone has roughly equal prospects for a good life.”( Lynch, Kathleen; Baker, John 2005)13 Equality in education : an equality of condition perspective Lynch, Kathleen; Baker, John 2005 Theory and Research in Education, 3 (2): 131-164 Changing a tax policy so that it is more progressive is one of the ways in which this can be done. As it was stated above direct taxation in the form of an income tax can be seen as a progressive tax policy. This can achieve more social justice as it not only helps to uphold human dignity by not forcing the poor to pay more taxes than the wealthy elite, it also encourages economic growth since it will leave more money in hands of the ordinary citizen which will in turn allow them to spend more on goods and services. Conversely human rights can be used as a means of undermining social justice. This can be seen in a case where secretive billionaires used article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights14 European Convention on Human Rights which covers the right to a private life as a means of making sure that the identities of who are using the UK tax haven of the isle of man was not made public.15 consultation on the transparency of the beneficial ownership of companies - isle of man government response 2016

In conclusion based on what has been discussed above it can be said that when it comes to being the bridge between the market and law/politics, Economic and Human rights law is not perfect but it is able to diminish the inequalities and discrimination that can be prominent due to certain economic policies. Does this mean that it also gives more social justice? The answer to that can be one of ambiguity as there are not many examples of it doing in respects to taxation. It does however provide some form of social justice as it is mentioned above that if a more tax policy were adopted then the chances of there being more equity present between the ordinary citizen and wealthy elite would be more likely.

Bibliography

    1. European Convention on Human Rights International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the ICESCR (OHCHR 2005, Annex 6). The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General comment 3
    2. F Block and M Somers, The Power of Market Fundamentalism (Harvard University Press 2014), Chapter 1: Karl Polanyi and the Power of Ideas, pp. 8-11 and pp. 28-43
    3. M Todaro, and S Smith, Economic Development (Harlow, Pearson, 2006) 762.
    4. I Ortiz and M Cummins, Global Inequality: Beyond the Bottom Billion: A rapid review of income distribution in 141 countries (UNICEF, New York, 2011) 38–45..
    5. OH Fjeldstad and M Moore (eds), Taxation and State-Building in Developing Countries: Capacity and Consent (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008).
    6. R Balakrishnan (et al eds), Rethinking Economic Policy for Social Justice (Routledge 2016), pp. 1-44
    7. I Saiz, ‘Resourcing Rights: Combatting Tax Injustice from a Human Rights Perspective’ in A Nolan (et al eds), Human Rights and Public Finance: Budgets and the Promotion of Economic and Social Rights (Hart 2013)
    8. M Couret Branco, Economics Versus Human Rights (Routledge 2009), pp. 8-24
    9. Fine Ben (1999) A question of economics: is it colonizing the social sciences?, Economy and Society, 28:3, 403-425,
    10. William B. Barker THE THREE FACES OF EQUALITY: CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN TAXATION 57 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 1 (2006)
    11. Consultation on the transparency of the beneficial ownership of companies - isle of man government response 2016
Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

Social and Economic Justice Essay. (2024, February 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/social-and-economic-justice-essay/
“Social and Economic Justice Essay.” Edubirdie, 09 Feb. 2024, edubirdie.com/examples/social-and-economic-justice-essay/
Social and Economic Justice Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/social-and-economic-justice-essay/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Social and Economic Justice Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Feb 09 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/social-and-economic-justice-essay/
copy

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via support@edubirdie.com.

Check it out!
close
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.