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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Development projects have frequently brought clashes between claims for improvement for powerful groups and the rights of marginal groups in project-affected areas, leading to ruinous resettlement of the latter. Economic cost–benefit analysis based on the potential compensation principle endorses sacrifice of weaker groups’ interests for the sake of groups that are already better off. The chapter examines two lines of response: the ethic of responsibilities from Penz et al., based on studying dam projects and existing international agreements, and human rights–based approaches elaborated for mining projects. A global language of human rights, including principles of recognition, accountability, and participation, helps to mobilize and link local and international civil society groups and claim seats for weaker local groups in project negotiations, which can thereby foster mutual learning and accommodation. Attention to these principles plus other elements of a human development ethic should become routine in economists’ training and practice.

Keywords: compensation principle, cost–benefit analysis, development ethics, development projects, displacement, rights-based approaches, social movements

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