View Full Version : What is more important: wealth & security or civil/political rights
04-23-2010, 04:48 AM
I know the knee jerk response is that freedom is more important than security, but when Napoleon came to power he brought security and stability with his dictatorship. The transition from oppressive (but economically functioning) communist nations to more free but struggling nations when the USSR broke up seems to have drastically increased the suicide rate. I don't know for sure if that is true or not, but I've gotten the impression rates of issues like suicide have gone up in ex-satellite states, despite their civil/human rights getting better because their economic situation collapsed. I've heard news reports of people in Iraq saying at least under Saddam, they didn't have freedom but at least they had security and stability.
So is it fundamentally just Maslow's hierarchy, you can't focus on self actualization, dignity, freedom, etc until you have stability, security, adequate food and gainful employment?
And once you get those things, then you start focusing on human, civil and political rights? Or does it vary? Do some people prefer a liberal democracy with violent crime and poverty over a dictatorship with low crime and full employment?
Now that the economy in China is growing, it seems more people who get their education here decide to go back. The human/civil rights are better there than they were 20 years ago, but they are still far behind the US. However economic opportunities do seem higher there too for a startup.
I read several years ago an article saying large %s of citizens in some latin american countries were drawn on whether life under a military strongman was better than under democracy.
04-23-2010, 04:59 AM
Civil and political rights.
04-23-2010, 05:18 AM
Neither, really. Without some level of wealth and security, civil rights are just ink on a page; necessity and fear and the desires of those wealthier/stronger than you will control your life. Without civil rights, prosperity just makes you a target to be looted, and security doesn't exist.
04-23-2010, 05:20 AM
Well lets see -
oppressive state - if you obey the laws, and stay in line, you get a wage, and a residence, and you eat regularly.
freedom state - no dependable income, might not have a residence, can't tell if you are going to be able to eat that day, or next week ...
Ill take a bit of oppression, thanks. I have been hungry.
I do value my rights, but sometimes you have to consider what will keep you *alive* and unfortunately I am not overly able at this point to deal with physical issues alone. Although, from what I have discussed with some game buddies from the old com block countries, life wasn't actually all that bad. Certainly they didn't have a lot of product choices, and tended to not have as many lifestyle choices as we had in the west, but they were reasonably happy. I know I could be reasonably happy in a society as restrictive as Singapore [I have no problem with that jackass getting caned, he did the crime and that was the punishment. I know people get wierded out by the no chewing gum deal, but do you really need a cud in your mouth to be happy?]
04-23-2010, 05:52 AM
Singapore might be a model for the oppressive stability. China is following the same path.
04-23-2010, 08:47 AM
Good question Wesley.
As others have intimated, without a basic level of wealth and security, civil or political rights are useless. It's great to be free to marry who you want, move where you want, say what you want, and on and on, but it's all useless if you can't feed yourself and will die in two weeks from starvation.
Then again, security from starvation doesn't mean much if you don't have any civil rights - being a well fed slave forced to engage in hard labor or fight your nation's enemies wouldn't be that great a life either.
So I'm with Der, and I'm going to sit on the fence. You need a basic level of both; completely eliminating either one just won't do. After a basic level of both though, I'm going to weigh in on the side of civil and political rights. The freedom, the potential to live however you wish should prevail, even if you don't currently, or never will, have the resources to do it.
04-23-2010, 08:57 AM
A few months ago there was a guardian article that compared Cuba with other Caribbean and central American nations and it touched on some of the issues being discussed here; it was titled: Caribbean communism v capitalism (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/jan/22/cuba-communism-human-rights).With a social safety net but fewer freedoms, is life better in Cuba than in its capitalist Caribbean basin neighbours?An interesting read.
04-23-2010, 09:34 AM
A few months ago there was a guardian article that compared Cuba with other Caribbean and central American nations and it touched on some of the issues being discussed here; it was titled: Caribbean communism v capitalism (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/jan/22/cuba-communism-human-rights).An interesting read.
The article raises good questions but does absolutely nothing to answer them, ending with the "both sides must learn from each other" platitude typical of someone who has never lived under either of the two sides.
The answer of who is better off, Cuba or its neighbors would be answered if the writer would have asked a simple question: how many people leave Haiti, Jamaica, Costa Rica, or any other country in a boat or raft for Cuba? And how many leave Cuba in boats or rafts for any one of those countries?
Cubans will prefer to go for the US, but that is mostly because other countries in the area automatically return Cubans to the island. Cubans land in Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bahamas all the time. Not many, if any, from those countries try to go to Cuba.
04-23-2010, 10:11 AM
Cubans will prefer to go for the US, but that is mostly because other countries in the area automatically return Cubans to the island. Cubans land in Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bahamas all the time. Not many, if any, from those countries try to go to Cuba.My googlefu is weak, so I'm gonna need some cites.
04-23-2010, 10:18 AM
Wealth, security and political rights are all interrelated without necessarily being mutually exclusive. You can't have wealth without security otherwise everyone just steals what they want and no one is willing to invest their time or capital in anything.
Civil and political rights also go hand in hand with security. Security is the enforcement of civil and political rights. Security ensures that people get to keep what is theirs.
Do you really have security and stability in a dictatorship? Aside from the fact that most of them are run terribly from an economic standpoint, how "secure" are you if everything you own can be taken away at the dictator's whim without due process?
04-23-2010, 01:17 PM
It's kinda like asking what's more important - air quality or air pressure.
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