Culture and Trans-Border Effects: Northern Individualism Meets Third-Generation Human Rights

Posted: 18 Aug 2003


The Northern/Western industrialized states exercise their power in accordance with their neoclassical perspective - which focuses on individual wealth. On the international field, we see the result in the behavior of the most powerful aggregation of individuals, the multinationals. Today, the North is waging two battles of both real and symbolic importance, one against corruption, and the other against AIDS. In this context, the North defines corruption through, for example, the OECD's anti-bribery convention, so as to assist the North-based multinational. This convention has transborder effects not sensitive to the cultural realities of bribe-receiving jurisdictions (generally assumed by the OECD to be located in the South). Similarly, the North's response to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa has focused on the financial interests of the individual multinationals. These enterprises, sheltered behind the WTO's TRIPS Agreement, have sought to impose intellectual property rights nation-by-nation, despite the disease's transborder impact on the world-wide population. So long as the North retains disproportionate power, one means of righting the balance is to modify the North's pro-individual, wealth-maximizing perspective. Third-generation human rights, because of their focus on transborder effects and on culture, can be the tool to reshape the North's perspective.

JEL Classification: F0, Z0

Suggested Citation

Dickerson, Claire Moore, Culture and Trans-Border Effects: Northern Individualism Meets Third-Generation Human Rights. Available at SSRN:

Claire Moore Dickerson (Contact Author)

Tulane University - Law School ( email )

6329 Freret Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

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