The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Moral Agency and the Role of Victims in Reparations Programs

39 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2007 Last revised: 20 Feb 2012

Carlton Waterhouse

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: December 8, 2009

Abstract

Despite the growing interest in reparations, at the domestic and international level, little attention has been given to the role of victims in the design and implementation of reparations programs. Instead, most programs and commentators place emphasis upon the apology, recompense, or restitution required by former wrongdoers rather than the restoration and recovery of victims. This prevailing approach neglects the critical role that communities and individuals suffering from past abuses should play in order to reestablish their personal well being and societal standing. This methodology replicates the past subordination of victims by rendering them the passive recipients of government actions that they have little or no control over. Over the past fifty years, reparations programs have varied in their overall quality and in their attention to this issue. This article examines some of the most well known domestic and international reparations programs and evaluates them based on how well they facilitate victims' participation in their own recovery. The analysis concludes that programs that enable victims to play a part in critical societal institutions offer a more thorough remedy to past harms by fostering victims' moral agency.

Keywords: Good, bad, ugly, moral, agency, role, victims, reparations, programs

Suggested Citation

Waterhouse, Carlton, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Moral Agency and the Role of Victims in Reparations Programs (December 8, 2009). Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-25; University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1018565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1018565

Carlton Mark Waterhouse (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States

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