Social Rights Trapped in Enduring Misconceptions of the Social State

Rivista di Diritti Comparati – Special issue on Economic Inequality as a Global Constitutional Challenge, 1, 2019, pp. 7-31

18 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2019

See all articles by Catarina Santos Botelho

Catarina Santos Botelho

Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

This paper focuses on the highly controversial constitutional debate on social rights design and the social state. With a comparative constitutional law approach, I identify seven misunderstandings and stereotypes of the social state worth being unravelled: social state is a synonym for welfare state; social rights are socialist; social rights are less important than liberty rights; social rights are costly and liberty rights are free; social retrogression is constitutionally forbidden; there are no social rights in times of crisis; social rights enforcement relies on activist courts. I will then conclude that social rights are not exclusive of a specific political spectrum. As social rights’ DNA lies in the triad of dignity, liberty and equality, their effective enforcement can (and should) be addressed by all democratic ideologies and political thoughts, regardless of their axiological and epistemological differences.

Keywords: social rights, dignity, liberty, equality, social state, social retrogression, positive/negative rights, costly rights and rights for free, indivisibility, judicial activism

Suggested Citation

Santos Botelho, Catarina, Social Rights Trapped in Enduring Misconceptions of the Social State (2019). Rivista di Diritti Comparati – Special issue on Economic Inequality as a Global Constitutional Challenge, 1, 2019, pp. 7-31, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3487063

Catarina Santos Botelho (Contact Author)

Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa ( email )

Rua Diogo Botelho, 1327
Porto, 4169-05
Portugal

HOME PAGE: http://catarinasantosbotelho.com

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