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The Rights of the Rich versus the Rights of the Poor by John Gledhill

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  • Pages: 6
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  • Category: Poverty

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The The Rights of the Rich versus the Rights of the Poor by John Gledhill published in 2005 was a paper that was initially presented to the The Winners and Losers from Rights-Based Approaches to Development Conference at the University of Manchester. It is published as support to one of the programmes of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Global Poverty Research Group.

The paper is based on Latin America state of affairs but the idea was presented in a writing style where it can be adapted internationally. The authoritarian rule was the identified cause which resulted to a rights-based approach of development as the major accepted idea in Latin America (Gledhill, 2005). Through social movement activism, the great effort towards rights-based development that is democracy, the acceptance and grip to global human rights was brought to a greater and multiple facets (Gledhill, 2005).

In deeper understanding and analysis, social movements and NGOs are not the most contributors of a rights-based development in Latin America but the new emerging governing style called neoliberalization dubbed by some authors as government at a distance and dynamic citizenship (Gledhill, 2005). Through this picturesque, it is thought that the present trend showed the poor having full participation in the economy because of the deepening democracy and rights-based approach amidst the critics’ review demonstrating an increase in economic casualness and aggression (Gledhill, 2005).

The paper also presented the dilemma in neoliberal infiltration to the social movements and NGOs and termed it as partnership in an advocate to promote rights-based development. The difficulty then is critical decision from NGOs and social movements in promoting and implementing their goals freely amidst the government manipulation (Gledhill, 2005). The partnership becomes a tool for the neoliberal regime to undermine the NGOs and social movement capacity to push the government for better and further structural changes in cases of social inequality (Gledhill, 2005).

This neoliberal technique becomes a problem also to NGOs and social movement as they become surrogate givers of the services that were supposedly to be delivered by the government (Gledhill, 2005). Their ability and goals are not only conciliated but were also necessitated to work on government agendas and programs that may be extreme than to the original agendas and programs which originally brought the NGOs and social movements formation and subsistence (Gledhill, 2005).

Most authors adapted this anthropology and neoliberal idea to further explain the social state in their region. Asia is one of the disputed regions for its increasing influential and authoritative international human rights movement (Peerenboom, 2004). In contrast to Gledhill, rights-based approach as a key of democracy was seen as a way of political reforms not of further social movement activism in the region. Though partly the rights movements emerged from democracy, democracy has been dubbed as a tool instead for better economic growth that led to further social inequality rather than less social aggression of the poor and elites (Peerenboom, 2004).

Authors on anthropology often argue on the practice of rights-based politics though it is much needed and conducive in the community because there is a complexity in its implementation in communities wherein the poor and the defenseless. The powerful ones often termed as the rich ones thrived to search for a more relaxed situation to defend the impunity and control any democratic accepted will. We must all know that this trend is also the purpose and the reason why the rights-based development model was formed. The reality that flawed national judicial and executive establishments in more isolated rural regions habitually becomes barriers that block the prerequisites of the law that favors the poor class to be implemented fully.

The ability of the government called the state capacity is being questioned. This factor is often tagged as one of the causative factors in facing and handling this situation whereby the citizens claim and the state delivers. It means that the government has the ability to interrupt in the civil society to put into practice the desired policies between the state and groups within the civil society that may affect division of resources. From previous readings, allocation of resources and how much classes benefited from it defined the classification of different classes, that is, poor and rich. It gave different level of power where consequently, power gave the ability to dictate which is to be adapted or to be implemented.

Through this paper, it is reflected that social and political aspects depend on the ability of the state to direct the course of these aspects in accordance to the existing rights and morals of the citizens under different cultural contexts. Because any discourse from what is accepted and naturally existing in the society often triggers formation of movements that protest and fight for what they believed is their impeded rights. Therefore, critics of this anthropology study viewed this idea as the rich one’s standpoint of freedom and the identification of the rights of other social classes and of women further accentuate the importance of rights.

The rights of the rich are therefore acquired from the resources and power they received. With these, other dictating factor for acceptance in a society like education and etiquette can be obtained through these sources. The distance between classes increases as these factors are attained. Within a class, the distance also increases depending on the amount of knowledge gained. The rights of the poor are hard to define as well because of the scarcity of the supposedly basic needs they are exercising. The rights they are known to exercise is the equality to have or experience also what the rich experiences, equality therefore sounds as the concept being struggled through decades.

The paper is deceiving if the title will be taken literally. The expectation that it might tell the gap between rich and poor as best explained through detailed illustration of the rights they exercised is not the content the reader initially pictured and primarily wanted to learn more of. Instead, the paper demonstrated the developmental approach through targeting people’s demand to exercise their rights, that is, democracy in a neoliberal way.

It only tells that elites are exercising a free will to depart from their public responsibilities and protected behind the security of their equipped enclaves while there is an increasing scrutiny and aggravation to the poor. This is the result of suppression of the existing social problems in order to preserve and uphold their lifestyles that lead to privatization and disintegration of most of the society in Latin America.

It can be learned that what the people wanted even they came from different areas all over the world struggled and fought for the same thing. It has been studied for many years to identify the need of the people to live contentedly and satisfactorily. Still, it is an endless quest that hangs unanswerable. The search is not yet over as it is reflected and observed all over the world of different races that the problem is not yet resolved. As one problem is specified, another time is spent on its solution.

As the problem is resolved, another problem arises. So the search was never over. The question therefore is the occurrence of discontentment triggers such different classes or is it the natural evolution of human nature. If the true cause can be unveiled, does it mean that our sense of worth is lost as our purpose is being diminished. Given a million thoughts, what is there left to be unveiled and solved more in this world. The paper touches a small aspect of human nature but gave rise to many questions. Though the title and topic did not coincide, the purpose of the paper is met and other silent objectives are met and revealed if further analyzed and studied.

GLEDHILL, J. (2005) The Rights of the Rich versus the Rights of the Poor. 33 pp. Available from: <www.sarpn.org.za/documents/d0002117/Human-rights_Gledhill_Feb2005.pdf> [Accessed 17 August 2007].
(n. a.). (2002) Citizenship and the Social Geography of Deep Neo-Liberalization. Available from: < www.wlu.ca/press/jrls/anthro/issues/47_1/gledhill.pdf> [Accessed 17 August 2007].
PEERENBOOM, R. P. (2004) Show Me the Money – The Dominance of Wealth in Determining Rights Performance in Asia. bepress Legal Series. 56 pp. Available from: <http://law.bepress.com/expresso/eps/324> [Accessed 17 August 2007].

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