Building the Global Welfare State: The United Nations as Community Organizer

Engage Volume 12, Issue 1, June 2011
By James P. Kelly
June 03, 2011

Recently, many American citizens have vigorously debated current, projected, and proposed government spending on health care, housing, education, social security, and environmental programs, and have organized for political action. At the same time, transnational progressives, in cooperation with United Nations human rights treaty body committees, non-governmental organizations, and foundations, are petitioning the United States government and businesses to adopt and implement additional financial and institutional support for these programs. This article examines the modern roots of the economic rights that are at the center of these opposing developments; explains the UN human rights treaty system that promotes these economic rights at the national level; describes how transnational progressives are promoting the creation of national, state, and local human rights institutions and organizing communities in support of these economic rights; and explains the pressure that the UN and transnational progressives are placing on businesses to fund the realization of these economic rights...