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ERIC Number: ED174511
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Limited World, Limited Rights.
Hardin, Garrett
The currently popular issue of natural rights is more complicated than many of its proponents realize. Natural rights, be they of an individual or a nation, do not exist within a social vacuum. When a person or nation asserts a natural right to something, the implication is that someone else is obligated to furnish it. Thus one person's right is a demand upon others. Analysis of the pros and cons of specific rights must take into account the effects of those rights upon the rest of the social order. For example, it can be said that citizens have a natural right to change their place of residence within their country. But China denies this right to its citizens, most of whom are rural. If this right were granted, millions of rural Chinese would migrate to the cities and problems of crowding, crime, and pollution would result. Another example is the popularly advocated right to food. Considered in light of a 1948 United Nations declaration that all men and women have the right to marry and found a family, the right to food is senseless. As the poorer nations of the world dramatically increase their populations and depend upon richer nations for food, citizens of the richer nations will ultimately suffer decreases in their own food supply. The conclusion is that any issue of natural rights must be considered in terms of the limited resources of the world and the interrelationships among all people who inhabit it. (AV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (Washington, D.C., August 31-September 3, 1979)