This academic journal on Human Rights and Economics investigates the relationship that exists between human rights and economics. More specifically, the “tensions”, “misconceptions”, “synergies” and “positive relationships”. Presenting a contrasting array of arguments on not only how “human rights approaches may improve development outcomes” but also on the counterproductive effect development and economic growth has on the treatment of lower income families, migrant workers and much more. Additionally, the study measures “the quality of economic growth” and what that entails both in the short term and long term. It also utilises a number of case studies to examine how “human rights have been integrated into development policies” and “how this has affected economic policy, if at all”. Divided into two main parts: Part 1 aims to give a “conceptual overview” on the love-hate relationship between human rights and economics while Part 2 discusses how human rights may be integrated practically into development economics.
Presented by Hugh Muir and produced by Matt Hill, this Guardian podcast examines the question of what comes first, economic empowerment or basic human rights? and why can’t we talk about the two together? Exploring a wide diversity of thought, the podcast interviews various professors like Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at Nehru University, and Jessica Evans of Human Rights Watch to obtain their thoughts on the issue with focus on foreign aid, corruption and the world bank. As consequence, the podcast succeeds in presenting and examining several vivid examples like the publication of a report by the Intelligence Bureau in India years ago that claimed that social movements, NGO’s, and activists were “antinational”, and result in a 3% loss of GDP per year. More so, it explores the concept that several organizations like the World bank “typically see human rights as beyond its purview” and how governments in many multilateral communities offer a “kind of trade-off” between economic development (roads, water, and electricity etc.) and silence (No demands for higher wages or complaints about environmental standards, home displacement, Worker’s rights etc.)
Hosting the world cup is a great move. Especially economically as it gives governments “incentive to create infra-structure, promote international exposure and increase tourism and business alliances.” More so, it increases investment in “certain areas and infrastructure that would otherwise be left forgotten”. Hence, this academic journal goes in depth on the benefits of hosting a world cup for a developing nation and why exactly it appears that the benefits outweigh the cost. Nevertheless, the journal also maintains that the opportunity cost for such an event is quite high for the people as government policies change to favour “higher taxes”, “reduction in public services”, and also sometimes deficit spending. In general, by comparing data on economic impact, social impact, tourism, and infrastructure from South Africa and Brazil, the academic journal attempts to “determine if the benefits of hosting the FIFA World cup exceeds the cost of it.”
Without doubt, the 2022 Qatar World Cup is expected to be a sight to behold. Expected to attract millions of soccer fans across the world, the event is sure to increase GDP (from increased consumer expenditure, government expenditures and net exports) and increase economic growth in Qatar. However, as Journeyman explains, to put on the best possible show on the world stage comes with a cost: an estimated 4,000 migrant workers are expected to die to put on these expensive constructions. This overwhelming figure is further proven by the “slave-like conditions” and distressing pictures of workers showcased in the video. In addition, the video provides several interviews from a number of workers on their working conditions, living conditions, basic human amenities, physical and mental health. As a result, the video shows that there is clear abuse of human capital with many forced to work 100 hour weeks in appalling conditions with little to no break as well as little regard for human life as there is no repercussions for rape and other horrendous crimes.
On this segment of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, John Oliver goes in depth and investigates the fashion industry of today. Oliver looks the gift horse in the mouth and questions why if one were to take the price of a t-shirt 25 years ago today and compare it, they’ll find that it has gotten a lot cheaper. By examining several big fashion multinationals like GAP, H&M, Joe Fresh and much more, Oliver uncovers that as recent as 1960, America produced 95% of all their own clothes but today they make around 2% and the other 98% is outsourced from developing countries. Stemming from this, the treatment of workers from developing countries take centre stage with numerous allegations of human rights violations ranging from forced labour to underage workers. In addition, Oliver investigates the working conditions of these factories as well as the numerous accidents that have occurred throughout the years in the name of “cheap prices”. Thus, by examining the death toll and overall living conditions, Oliver examines the effects of modern day consumerism and capitalism as well as the price citizens pay for economic growth.
Detailed and informative, Nathan Finch’s and Ismail Ferduos’s Op-Doc “The Deadly Cost of Fashion” delivers a chilling first person account on the Rana Plaza Collapse in Bangladesh on April 24th 2013. Hailed as “the deadliest accident in the history of the garment industry” with an estimated death toll of 1110 people and 2,500 more injuries, the Op-doc provides a much more honest and gruesome answer to the popular question “who are you wearing?”. While Finch and Ferduos iterate that “there is no questioning the contribution of the garment industry in Bangladesh” as it provides around four million jobs and aids the overall economy, it also examines the “struggles” of these workers as most are payed below minimum wage, work over minimum daily hours and are afforded minimum human rights. Consequently, the Op-Doc determines the root of the problem to be “outsourcing” and its “broken chain”: Consumers demand cheaper prices which results in producers lowering production costs (wages, electricity, food quality, working environments etc.) in an attempt to meet these demands.