upcoming talk

William S. Lear rael at zopyra.com
Mon Mar 13 07:45:41 PST 2000

On Sunday, March 12, 2000 at 13:40:40 (EST) JKSCHW at aol.com writes:
>In a message dated 00-03-12 12:02:48 EST, you write:
> 1. Employment as a right, fully on a par with other civil rights such
> a the right to free speech.
>I may be being excessively legalistic here, but if employment were a
>constitutional right, that would normally just mean that the government could
>not act to deprive you of it. What I presume you mean, though, is taht we
>need a legislative commitment to full emplyment that would either operate
>against private employers or would commit the government to act as employer
>of last resort or something like that.

Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm a bit pressed for time, and my knowledge of this area is rather weak), but don't treaties entered into become a part of the "supreme law of the land" (Article VI, Section 2)? Is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights an agreement with the same binding power as a treaty?

In any case, it might be nice to point out that the US largely rejects the socio-economic provisions of this document, and it would be a good place to start when you think of urging "employment" as a domestic right. What we really should be doing, is creating more awareness of this very sorely neglected document, and this might be a good opportunity.

> > 8. Equality, and not just some sham equality of opportunity, seen as a
> good in itself. When we think about it, it is very difficult to justify
> any significant differences in reward among human beings. Why should
> anyone make a great deal more money than another or have more wealth
> than another? Inequality is the great underminer of democracy.
>You start off saying that equality is good in itself and end up justifying it
>interms of democracy.

I don't think it hurts to reiterate its effect on democracy, but what might be nice to think about here is whether or not it truly is "very difficult to justify any significant differences in reward among human beings". I think this needs more a more careful and detailed statement about what sorts of inequality you are willing to tolerate, and for what reasons. I too feel that rough parity would be better...

Also might be nice to speculate that if there were rough parity and we had a truly democratic society throughout, we might very well each be quite well-off, not to mention the fact that a great deal of wealth would be (hopefully) in the public sphere, and not infinitely atomized as it is today.


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