Rights and Value: Construing the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as Civil Commons
This article brings together the United Nations’ International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and John McMurtry’s theory of value. In this perspective, the ICESCR is construed as a prime example of “civil commons,” while McMurtry’s theory of value is proposed as a tool of interpretation of the covenant. In particular, McMurtry’s theory of value is a hermeneutical device capable of highlighting: (a) what alternative conception of value systemically operates against the fulfilment of the rights enshrined in the ICESCR; (b) the increased relevance of the ICESCR with regard to the current global economic crisis; (c) the parameters to determine the degree to which the rights at issue have been realized. Reflections on environmental implications of both the ICESCR and McMurtry’s axiology conclude the article.