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Posted on May 2nd, 2014, by

How can one argue that there is a right to employment (in answering this question you must explain how one may have a) a right to work, b) a right to life, and c) a right to respect, not necessarily in that order)? How can one argue for a right to a just wage?

First of all, it is significant to understand that a right to employment is not the same as a right to work. It is easier to understand what a right to work is and where it derives from, but there is more controversy about the right to employment however. A right to work comes from the right to live which is a human right based in the very virtue of being human. Being a human is a clause for having a right to work, but there are a number of conditions when this right cannot be exercised. Infants cannot exercise it, while they still have neither physical nor moral ability to do it, while senior people have already lost this ability and their right has likely run out. Some groups of population exercise this right to a certain extent, while they have part-time jobs. But these part-time or seasonal jobs, spread among students or other young people who cannot be employed full-value for the lack of experience and some other reasons, are mostly unofficial. As De George argues, there are a lot of people who work, but do not get money for their work: these are housewives, children involved in household, farmers who do not sell their products to others and so on. Here the difference between working and a right to employment is clearly seen. A right to work is connected with the ability to be engaged in certain kind of activity that brings certain visible results for a person. De George explains how it is often associated with a right to development. A work is believed to be directed at changing for better, for certain personal advance. And thus it is protected as a human right. But it is further explained that not each work brings development. On the contrary, certain kinds of work lead to degradation. Then, why are people engaged in these kinds of work? The answer is in the goal of working. The main reasons a person seeks a job is a will and more often a necessity to earn money to survive. In the meantime, the right to development can be exercised in many other ways, including creativity, education, leisure activities, sports and other non-work related spheres. Another thing is that a person is expected to work by the society. A person is expected to contribute his or her ability to the welfare of the society, and sometimes a person who does not exercise the right to work is subjected to a form of ostracism. In the USSR this ostracism received a legally fixed form, and it was clearly seen how a right is turned into obligation. Not working was a kind of parasitism and it was not an allowable alternative, but it was a criminal offence. There was no democracy, but at the same time there was no a problem of unemployment either. There was no such problem in the early United States either, because the number of population was not high and a lot of jobs were available. There was no need to protect the right to work because it was not an issue. In the Bill of Rights the right to life had nothing in common with the right to work. There were a lot of opportunities, and having ability, one could easily find a field to apply it. The problem arises when supply of labor exceeds the demand, and it is first of all associated with industrialization, as many functions become substituted by machines. Any particular employer cannot be blamed for choosing a more effective performer, as the situation results from the situation on the whole.

Declaration for Human Rights protects a human right to get the work according to person’s intellectual and physical abilities and interests, and to be rewarded correspondingly to the effort taken by this person. But a right to employment is not the same as full employment, De George argues. While unemployment comes from the socioeconomic system characteristics, full employment becomes an ideal, not a right. At the same time the ideal of full employment is appealing only in its abstract form. In reality, no employer is interested in full employment, because the absence of options would lead to the reduction of production quality and so on. “Unemployment guarantees the availability of people for at least some-usually lower level-jobs,”ť De George (426) recognizes. The United States have become a place where a lot of emigrants come to exercise their right to work. And they are paid very low wages, if to compare these wages with those paid to the American citizens. But these wages are much higher than those they could ever receive at home, and that is the motive they are driven by to a foreign country. In this way, system works in several directions. And where someone is a loser, someone finds a benefit.

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