Property’s relation to human rights

Carol M. Rose

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


How does property relate to human rights? Is property a human right in itself, as some have argued? Or on the contrary, is property an impediment to the assertion of other human rights, particularly social and economic rights? Or is the relationship of property to human rights something else? This chapter gives a brief account of the role of property in modern human rights developments, and then explores three areas in which the human rights role of property has raised controversies: first, the assertion of property as a human right in connection with traditional groups’ claims to protect cultural identity through assertions of ownership of land and creative achievements; second, the human rights claims to social and economic rights that run contrary to more conventional property claims; and finally, the role of property protection in deflecting the acceleration of other human rights abuses. This chapter argues that in all these instances, property’s relation to human rights is best seen in a pragmatic light, framing the issues in particular cases by inquiring about the ways in which property might support other human rights claims-an inquiry that sometimes leads to unexpected results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEconomic Liberties and Human Rights
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781351329606
ISBN (Print)9781138574397
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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