Modern history

Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy

An expanded and updated edition of a classic work on human rights and global justice.

Since its original publication, Basic Rights has proven increasingly influential to those working in political philosophy, human rights, global justice, and the ethics of international relations and foreign policy, particularly in debates regarding foreign policy’s role in alleviating global poverty. Henry Shue asks: Which human rights ought to be the first honored and the last sacrificed? Shue argues that subsistence rights, along with security rights and liberty rights, serve as the ground of all other human rights. This classic work, now available in a thoroughly updated fortieth-anniversary edition, includes a substantial new chapter by the author examining how the accelerating transformation of our climate progressively undermines the bases of subsistence like sufficient water, affordable food, and housing safe from forest-fires and sea-level rise. Climate change threatens basic rights.


Part I. Three Basic Rights

Chapter 1. Security and Subsistence

Chapter 2. Correlative Duties

Chapter 3. Liberty

Part II. Three Challenges to Subsistence Rights

Chapter 4. Realism and Responsibility

Chapter 5. Affluence and Responsibility

Chapter 6. Nationality and Responsibility

Part III. New Challenges to Basic Rights

Chapter 7. Right-grounded Duties and the Institutional Turn (1996)

Chapter 8. Basic Rights and Climate Change (2020)


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