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The value of human rights on the open market: Liberal economic policies and the achievement of personal integrity rights.

Description: At the end of World War II, the United States emerged as a world leader, putting into place international institutions based on its own liberal economic philosophy. Since then, the world has witnessed an increasing interconnectedness among states, with economic relationships continually blurring the distinction between domestic and international, as well as between state and societal forces. Much of the world associates this increased interconnectedness with human suffering around the globe. This dissertation seeks to test the effects of economic globalization on personal integrity violations within a state, on the whole. Specifically, I examine three aspects associated with globalization, trade openness, investment and IMF funding within a state. Liberal economic theory suggests that economic relationships should foster positive gains. Particularly, economic relationships engender economic prosperity, diffusion of norms and idea, as well as the growth of a middle class which increasingly demands respect for its political and civil rights. Consistent with the liberal paradigm, I find that open trade and investment lead to improved personal integrity rights. In addition, investment which originates from the hegemon is especially likely to increase a state's respect for personal integrity rights. Conversely, IMF funding is likely to provoke protests from people in recipient countries, which often leads to increased repression by the state. To the extent that the IMF chooses to place importance on human rights, future attention should be paid to the practices of recipient countries. Overall, this dissertation suggests overall support for the liberal paradigm, that open economic policies are most likely to lead to improved levels of personal integrity rights.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Harrelson-Stephens, Julie
Partner: UNT Libraries