The Argument of Democratic Capitalism

Arvind Sharma

in Are Human Rights Western?

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679489
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081714 | DOI:
The Argument of Democratic Capitalism

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This chapter examines the argument of democratic capitalism in light of the claim that human rights are Western. Human rights can be considered Western in a diagnostic sense, in the sense that they are the manifestation of a syndrome peculiar to the West which combines (1) the nation-state; (2) individualism; (3) capitalism; and (4) democracy in such a way that each is implicated in the other. The capitalist argument hinges on the connection between capitalism and non-interference by the government on the one hand (negative rights), with the provision of some cooperation among citizens on the other. The deeper issue underlying this argument is whether human rights must go hand in hand with a certain type of economic system and whether such an economic system has to be necessarily Western.

Keywords: human rights; nation-state; individualism; capitalism; democracy; economic system; political system; developing countries

Chapter.  3190 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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