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Arguments For and Against Social Rights

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I investigate the semantic and practical complexity of social rights, together with the obligations which correspond to the public authorities in terms of putting them into practice. I also discuss the role of meaningful economic equality in the discourse of social rights, explaining the points at which the two concepts interact, and the ways that formal equality can be improved. Finally, I reach the conclusion that there are two distinct meanings of the concept of discrimination, one which is equivalent to any violation of the general principal of equality, and another stricter one, which is the infringement of equality when any of the proscribed differentiating factors are present (race, sex, etc.). The legal aspect of the mandate to exercise and guarantee social rights is manifest in the programmed objective, as well as in the fact that the measures aimed at this objective are protected from the possibility of compliance.

In this way, social rights constitute subjective rights, representing a programme through which goods would be distributed evenly among public, collective and private interests. This results in a singular structure with a special mechanism by which the State has to provide assistance and services, and create, strengthen and promote the conditions allowing individuals and groups to satisfy their needs. Thus their obligations are also related to the prerequisites for exercising positive liberty. The main point of departure is that individuals are moral subjects endowed with dignity. It defends the idea that we all have real capacity for choice and that we all direct our existence towards certain aims in life.

Affiliations: 1: University of Alcalá, Spain

10.1163/187219109X447458
/content/journals/10.1163/187219109x447458
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/content/journals/10.1163/187219109x447458
2009-07-01
2016-12-10

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