What does the financial crisis have to do with human rights?

This week Radhika Balakrishnan—the new Executive Director of the Center for Global Women’s Leadership—and James Heintz—co-author with Nancy Folbre of The Ultimate Field Guide to the U.S. Economy—asked the question, “What does the financial crisis have to do with human rights?” This question is refreshing amidst the endless, morbid data on just how bad the crisis is and how much people are suffering. The question offers a pathway to sustainable economic recovery by emphasizing the essential relationship between a government and its people. As Balakrishnan and Heintz write, “Bad behavior has been rewarded, with the result that nothing has yet been done to stop the behavior from happening again.” But the time for bad behavior has come to end:

All governments are obliged to advance their people's human rights. One of the specific obligations under international law is to protect the rights of their residents. When an individual business or institution threatens to interfere with someone's basic rights, the government must step in to protect economic and social rights.

Continue reading how Balakrishnan and Heintz are holding the U.S. government accountable for human rights protection and greater financial regulation.


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