Civilising Globalisation: Human Rights and the Global Economy

31 July 2008

Professor David Kinley questions to what extent the two phenomena of the global economy and human rights are interrelated and interdependent in his forthcoming book, Civilising Globalisation: Human Rights and the Global Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

"How does commercial enterprise both underpin and undermine human rights objectives? Does trade help or hinder human rights? How can economic aid better protect the human rights of the poor? These are big questions that require big answers," Professor Kinley said.

The book aims to demonstrate how and why we can and must meet our global human rights responsibilities, while at the same time maintaining and promoting global economic growth.

In turn, Professor Kinley identifies where the responsibilities lie as between states, international organisations, corporations and human rights advocates, for its achievement.

"Great expectations are made of both economic globalisation and universal human rights," he said.

"Both have the power and aspiration to improve and enrich us as individuals and as communities. And yet, their methods, practices and goals differ - sometimes greatly - and their respective champions have become more strident in their advocacy and more critical and distrustful of each other.

"This is a serious problem. For we appear, increasingly, to rely simultaneously on the economy to provide the means to cure our global ills - from rogue states and weak governance to food crises, poverty reduction and environmental degradation - and on international human rights standards to be the moral compass to guide the way."

The book addresses these fundamental issues by analysing how human rights intersect with the three principal components of the global economy -trade, aid and commerce.

"In its title and content Civilising Globalisation adopts the twin perspectives that while the global economy is an essential civilising instrument, it nonetheless has within it tendencies and practices that themselves require civilising, according to human rights standards," he said.

The book chastens both extremes of the debate and constructs an argument for seeking out and promoting the ways in which the global economy advances the ends of human rights, while at the same time taming the undesirable excesses of capitalisme sauvage and containing the detrimental effects of market failures.

Professor Kinley holds the inaugural Chair in Human Rights Law at the University of Sydney.

He is a leading international commentator in the area having written and edited a number of other books, including, Commercial Law and Human Rights (2002, with Bottomley); Human Rights and Corporations (2008), and The WTO and Human Rights (forthcoming, 2009, with Joseph and Waincymer), as well as many leading articles and reports, and is frequently invited to deliver speeches and lectures on the subject all over the world.

He has advised governments and corporations on human rights issues, and has worked for and with agencies such as the UN, the World Bank, AusAID and various NGOs on human rights related projects, especially in countries across South East Asia.

The book is scheduled for release in April 2009.

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 35272f0905233e5d131f2f09225c3c752732560160542c10645321