Volume 11, 2008
On Not Excluding the Poor Yet Again
Many philosophers agree that human rights are helpful for defining poverty (poverty is a violation of human rights) and for overcoming poverty (human rights provide a standard for measuring progress). I briefly examine the recent contributions of Paul Ricoeur, who sees human rights declarations as the occasion for a
conversation leading to practical wisdom, and Thomas Pogge, who argues for a reform of the global institutional order that has done much harm and prevented billions of people from having secure access to the objects of human rights. As a complement to the important contributions of Ricoeur and Pogge, I pose the question, Who should be the actors in the struggle against poverty? My answer, drawing on recent work by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, is that it is a violation of the human rights of those living in poverty if they are not full participants in the working for the eradication of poverty.