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Submitted by Shanta on

Anders, this is turning out to be an interesting discussion. First, in monitoring whether the state is making serious efforts to realize rights (the progressive realization of rights), do they monitor whether there is progress in the poor getting access to these rights? If they did, they would realize that countries like India, Tanzania, and others are retrogressing. Second, the welfare economics concept you refer to, whether the change leads to a potential Pareto improvement, is precisely the logic behind the statement that government should concentrate on solving market failures. For when government finances a public good, society is better off even when that good is financed by taxation (assuming the marginal cost of taxation is not too high), or by cutting back on spending on private goods. The losers in the latter case are those who have been enjoying these private goods for free or at subsidized rates. Typically, they are the non-poor. So if human rights practitioners wish to compensate the losers in a Pareto improving change, they should be aware that they are compensating who were not the ones that the rights were designed to protect. Finally, I'm glad you agree on the right to information, but has it ever been articulated that this right is more important than the others in that it can help the others achieve their intended outcome? Shanta