The Nation on the Right to Food
Okay, not exactly a headline that makes you want to click through on a Friday afternoon. As part of its “food issue” (don’t expect recipes for blondies or table-setting ideas), The Nation has this piece on the right to food. I was expecting something from the bad old days of international law during which IL proponents thought it was good enough just to cite some provision of an international instrument (in this case article 25 of the Universal Declaration) and expect everyone to fall in line.
So I was pleasantly surprised to see a more nuanced argument here, recognizing that with formalist rights arguments people “can quickly slide into passive mode–to assumed provision by somebody else, as in the right to an education or to a jury trial, where it makes perfect sense.” The rest of the piece includes some interesting examples of bottom-up legal capacity building. I’m not sure I buy into all of the assumptions here, but it’s hard to argue with some of the mechanisms, such as title-transfers of arable land to peasants that otherwise goes untilled.
(Is there something interesting going on at The Nation generally, after years of fairly predictable stuff? Perhaps their luxury cruises — sorry, all sold out — have something to do with it. Maybe it’s time to update the phrase “limousine liberal”.)