Samuel Moyn featured in a podcast with the New Books Network

September 4, 2018
Professor Samuel Moyn was featured in a podcast with the New Books Network.  Zeb Larson of The Ohio State University, writes:
“In his new book, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (Harvard University Press, 2018), Moyn examines human rights from a different perspective, namely its inability to challenge the rise of inequality across the world. Moyn argues that this development wasn’t inevitable from a historical perspective and was the result of decisions made by politicians and social priorities articulated by philosophers beginning in the twentieth century. As a consequence, human rights has coexisted alongside inequality, unable to meaningfully critique it.
Moyn begins by looking at the French Revolution, which he asserts was the first government that explicitly thought in egalitarian terms for its citizens. Noting that the welfare state was ironically a project of right-wing nationalist governments, Moyn argues that the postwar welfare states nevertheless embraced egalitarian impulses that not only established protections for their citizens but established ceilings on the kinds of wealth that that they could enjoy. In the Global South, newly independent states also embraced ideologies that would do the same. However, development economists instead emphasized poverty reduction campaigns that sought to provide marginal protections for the indigent without limiting the growth of wealth; this was matched by philosophers who reflected this same concern. The result was a human rights revolution focused more on subsistence and protections for the worst off that never tried to fight rising inequality.”
Listen to the podcast here.