Carr Center Discussion Papers

2018
Human Rights as Membership Rights in the World Society
Mathias Risse. 10/7/2018. Human Rights as Membership Rights in the World Society. 2018006th ed. Cambridge: Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. See full article.Abstract
Human Rights as Membership Rights in the World Society by Mathias Risse 

The idea of human rights has come a long way. Even hard-nosed international-relations realists should recognize that the idea has become so widely accepted that nowadays it arguably has an impact. Many countries have made human rights goals part of their foreign policy. International civil society is populated by well-funded and outspoken human rights organizations. We have recently witnessed the creation of an entirely new institution, the International Criminal Court, as well as the acceptance, at the UN level, of guiding principles to formulate human rights obligations of businesses. Around the world, more and more local concerns are formulated in the language of human rights, a phenomenon known as the vernacularization, or localization, of human rights. Ordinary people increasingly express concerns in terms of human rights rather than a language that earlier might have come more natural to them. They are not just helping themselves to a legal and political machinery. They also make clear that they are articulating concerns others have in similar ways where they live.

Thinking About the World: Philosophy and Sociology.
Mathias Risse and John W. Meyer. 7/1/2018. Thinking About the World: Philosophy and Sociology. . Cambridge: Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.Abstract
Thinking About the World: Philosophy and Sociology an article by Mathias Risse

In recent decades the world has grown together in ways in which it had never before. This integration is linked to a greatly expanded public and collective awareness of global integration and interdependence. Academics across the social sciences and humanities have reacted to the expanded realities and perceptions, trying to make sense of the world within the confines of their disciplines. In sociology, since the 1970s, notions of the world as a society have become more and more prominent. John Meyer, among others, has put forward, theoretically and empirically, a general world-society approach. In philosophy, much more recently, Mathias Risse has proposed the grounds-of-justice approach. Although one is social-scientific and the other philosophical, Meyer’s world society approach and Risse’s grounds-of-justice approach have much in common. This essay brings these two approaches into one conversation.

The Globalized Myth of Ownership and Its Implications for Tax Competition
Mathias Risse and Marco Meyer. 6/12/2018. The Globalized Myth of Ownership and Its Implications for Tax Competition. 004th ed. Cambridge: Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. See full article.Abstract
The Globalized Myth of Ownership and Its Implications for Tax Competition by Mathias Risse 
 

Tax competition (by states) and tax evasion (by individuals or companies) unfold at a dramatic scale. An obvious adverse effect is that some states lose their tax base. Perhaps less obviously, states lose out by setting tax policy differently – often reducing taxes – due to tax competition. Is tax competition among states morally problematic? We approach this question by identifying the globalized myth of ownership. We choose this name parallel to Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel’s myth of ownership. The globalized myth is the (false) view that one can assess a country’s justifiably disposable national income simply by looking at its gross national income (or gross national income as it would be absent certain forms of tax competition). Much like its domestic counterpart, exposing that myth will have important implications across a range of domains. Here we explore specifically how tax competition in an interconnected world appears in this light, and so by drawing on the grounds-of-justice approach developed in Mathias Risse’s On Global Justice.         

Human Rights Documentation in Limited Access Areas: The Use of Technology in War Crimes and Human Rights Abuse Investigations.
Sushma Raman and Steven Livingston. 5/15/2018. Human Rights Documentation in Limited Access Areas: The Use of Technology in War Crimes and Human Rights Abuse Investigations.. Carr Center Discussion Paper Series. 003rd ed. Cambridge: Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. See full text.Abstract
Human Rights Documentation in Limited Access Areas: The Use of Technology in War Crimes and Human Rights Abuse Investigations:

 

We offer a theoretical framework for understanding the role of technological capabilities (affordances) in documenting war crimes and human rights abuses in limited access areas.  We focus on three digital affordances: geospatial, digital network, and digital forensic science.  The paper argues that by leveraging digital affordances, human rights groups gain access to otherwise inaccessible areas, or to information that has been degraded in an effort to obfuscate culpability.  We also argue that the use of digital technology invites a reassessment of what we mean when we speak of a human rights organization.  Organizational morphology in digital space is hybrid in nature, with traditional organizations also taking on or joining more virtual or solely digital forms.

Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence: An Urgently Needed Agenda?
Mathias Risse. 4/15/2018. Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence: An Urgently Needed Agenda? . Carr Center Discussion Paper Series. 2018002nd ed. Cambridge, MA: Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. See full text. Abstract
Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence: An Urgently Needed Agenda? by Mathias Risse 

 

Artificial intelligence generates challenges for human rights. Inviolability of human life is the central idea behind human rights, an underlying implicit assumption being the hierarchical superiority of humankind to other forms of life meriting less protection. These basic assumptions are questioned through the anticipated arrival of entities that are not alive in familiar ways but nonetheless are sentient and intellectually and perhaps eventually morally superior to humans. To be sure, this scenario may never come to pass and in any event lies in a part of the future beyond current grasp. But it is urgent to get this matter on the agenda. Threats posed by technology to other areas of human rights are already with us. My goal here is to survey these challenges in a way that distinguishes short-, medium-term and long-term perspectives

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