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Necessary Evil: How to Fix Finance by Saving Human Rights

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Finance is the evil we cannot live without. It governs almost every aspect of our lives and has the power to liberate as well as enslave. With the worldas total financial assetsavalued at a staggering $300 trillionabeing four times larger than the combined output of all the worldas economies, there is, apparently, plenty to go around. Yet, while proponents of finance-driven capitalism point to the trickle-down effect as its contribution to wealth redistribution, there are still nearly a billion people across the globe existing on less than $2 a day; 14 percent of Americans are living below the official poverty line; and disparities in wealth equality everywhere have reached unprecedented levels. Evidently a trickle is not enough.

How can this be when so much wealth abounds, and when finance is supposedly chastened and reformed after its latest global crisis? How, especially, can it be in an age when human rights are more loudly proclaimed than ever before? Can the financial sector be made to shoulder more of the burden of spreading wealth, reducing poverty, and protecting rights? And if so, what role can human rights play in making it happen?

In answering these questions, David Kinley draws on a vast array of material from bankers, economists, lawyers, and politicians, as well as human rights activists, philosophers, historians and anthropologists, alongside his own experiences working in the field. Necessary Evil shows how finance can shed its conceit, return to its role as the economyas servant not its master, and regain the public trust and credibility it has so spectacularly lost over the past decadeaall by helping human rights, not harming them.

Author: Kinley David
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780190691127
Cover: Hardback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2018


Taming the money monster

The argument
The research journey
The finance/human rights relationship
Stages in the relationship
Chapter 1 Strange bedfellows
Finance as a utility
Financial ownership
Financial weapons of mass destruction
Transformative powers
The poverty prism
The public problem of private poverty
Incentives and exceptionalism
Anthropology on Wall Street
Mission statement
Chapter 2 Living together
Ends and means
Money as an instrument
A common liberal heritage
Human rights globalization
Paying for rights
Finding rights
Human rights and the global economy
Rights Politics
Complicated confederacy
Speaking different languages
Missed opportunities
Human needs and human rights
Rights differences
Rights impacts
Chapter 3 Flirting with Risk
The attraction
From boring banking to fantasy finance
The majesty and tragedy of leverage
Human rights risks
Rich world austerity
Poor world impacts
Faith no more
Greed in finance
When risk goes bad
Risky lessons
Chapter 4 Private matters
What money can buy
The generation and investment of wealth
Remittances and credit
Capital and tyranny
Capital gains
Responsible capital
The business of impact
Equity and inequality
Rewarding capital
Consequences of unequal wealth
Wealth and giving
The givers
The Receivers
Mixed motivations
How much is enough?
The private/public connection
Chapter 5 Public affairs
The voice of human rights
Public funding of human rights
Taxation, representation and rights
The consequences of levying tax - a brief history
Of ghosts and icebergs - the consequences of lost tax
Tax as a force for good
Aid and debt
Development and human rights: more awkward than intimate
Partnering with the private sector
Getting the mix right
Does 'new' aid work?
Chapter 6 Cheating
Deceit and subversion
Illicit finance
Tax evasion
Tax free
Tax sport
Questions of impunity
Regulatory capture
Legal smoke screens
Denial in finance
Denial in human rights
Wishful thinking
Measuring progress
Chapter 7 Counseling and reconciliation
What sort of counsel?
The long shadow of financial exceptionalism
Attitudes and culture
Capacity for change
Regulatory intervention and risk
Identification of risk
Allocation of risk
Risk and the rule of law
Reaching across the divide


David Kinley is Professor and Chair in Human Rights Law at the University of Sydney, and an Academic Expert member of Doughty Street Chambers in London. He is a former Fulbright Senior Scholar at American University Washington College of Law, and has taught at Oxford and George Washington Universities as well as the Sorbonne. He is a co-author of The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (winner of an American Society of International Law Best Book Award) and author of Civilizing Globalization: Human Rights and the Global Economy. Born in Ireland and somewhat educated in England, he now lives in Australia.

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