3.3 Nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is based on harnessing the very large quantities of energy that are released when the nuclei of certain atoms, notably uranium-235 and plutonium-239, are induced to split or ‘fission’. The complete fission of a kilogram of uranium-235 should produce, in principle, as much energy as the combustion of over 3000 tonnes of coal. In practice, the fission is incomplete and there are other losses, but nevertheless nuclear fuels are more highly concentrated sources of energy than f
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

2.2.2 Environmental economics and green consumerism

In economic terms, green consumerism is typically expressed using measures based on the willingness to pay (WTP) principle. As mentioned above, this takes two main forms: eco-taxation, in which environmental costs are estimated and added to the price of commodities (e.g. vehicles with high carbon emissions); and eco-labelling, in which products are labelled with relevant environmental information, such as is now required by the food industry and governments in many industrialised count
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

1.4 Caring for the consequences

The Light reading is an extract from the first part of a longer paper in which he goes on to argue for a more pragmatic approach from environmental ethicists to complement their important work on theorising over intrinsic value. Here you need register only the concern expressed by Light that ethicists should focus more on the immediate consequences of their endeavours in terms of being able to shape policy and action.

In thinking about such effects, Light might be regarded as following
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

5.1 Food preservation and the development of refrigeration

Most societies have had traditional methods of preserving food: drying, baking, pickling, salting, smoking, the use of sugar, and in cold climates, freezing or chilling, with the use of ice houses in the summer. These techniques were usually carried out at a local level, which meant that most perishable food was consumed near to where it was produced, and any food processing was usually small-scale and localised. Cattle and livestock, for example, were moved ‘on the hoof’ from their pastu
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

2.2 We are part of nature

Take a few minutes to look around at your surroundings before you read on. What do you see? Obviously this depends on where you are at the moment: at home, at work, or perhaps travelling in between, or maybe you have the misfortune to be laid up in hospital. Possibly like me you are at home. I am fortunate to have a study where I do much of my writing and you won't be surprised to hear that I'm looking at a computer screen at the moment. What else can I see? Books and bookshelves, furniture o
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

6.4 International retributive justice

A further difference between communitarians and cosmopolitans arises over the question of retributive justice. Communitarians think that it is the responsibility of each state to uphold justice. Collectively, states can pursue international justice through the auspices of the UN, and are answerable to each other, to public opinion and to NGOs. However, there is no basis for claims to universal jurisdiction, and to deal with matters not found in specific states (such as piracy), or that cross
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

5.5 Feminist critiques of international rights

The second source of criticisms that we would like to explore comes from feminist critiques. Some feminists argue that the universal notion of rights makes invisible the special problems faced by women as a group, and that, thereby, specific articles of the various human rights declarations and conventions reinforce traditional gender roles in the family and the workplace. This criticism comes in at least two forms.

The first is that rights for women (as for other disadvantaged groups)
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

5.4 The influence of the Western perspective

With regard to the first set of problems – that the rights discourse is not universal but is deeply informed by a Western perspective – it is striking that many actors and commentators on the international stage now frame their arguments and assertions in terms of the language of rights and justice. Yet we need to ask to what extent this language of rights and justice really underpins shared understandings and values. There is a strong case for saying that if there are shared understandin
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

5.3 Problems with international rights

The international human rights discourse claims that the value of its conception of rights lies in it being universal, empowering and human-centred. The idea of universality asserts the relevance of human rights to anyone, anywhere. Empowerment is the concept of human rights as a defence against inequality and the domination of the powerful over the weak. The human-centred feature of international rights seeks to provide a perspective on global questions, ‘putting the value of human dignity
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

5.2 Human rights in the international arena

The UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserted that the ‘recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’. It further affirmed that human rights should be protected by the rule of law, that they were ‘essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations’, that these fundamental human rights include the equal rights between men
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

3.1 Introduction

As this history might suggest, defining and conceptualising rights is not straightforward. This section aims to provide a working definition of ‘rights’ and introduce some important debates about rights. It aims to supply some conceptual tools to use when the discussion moves to the sphere of international politics.


Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

2.1.1 Where did the attempt to define notions of rights internationally come from?

To some extent, this ideology of rights was new because it was expressed at the international level with new vigour, with the horrors of the Second World War and the calculated extermination of Jews, gypsies and others in mind. The discourse of individual rights had a stronger impact on international politics than at any time previously, as did the notion of a right to national self-determination. Yet this new departure for international politics also built upon ideas about rights that had be
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

2.1 Background to the idea of international rights

The UN Charter and the Declaration form part of a post-Second World War international settlement which established, on the one side, the formal legitimating ideology of the international system, national self-determination and sovereign equality and, on the other, the ideology of universal human rights. The appeal of this set of claims was the hope that different peoples could live together in peace and security. It was an attempt to accommodate difference (through the idea of national self-d
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

References

Allen, J. (2006) ‘Claiming connections: a distant world of sweatshops?’ in Barnett, C., Robinson, J. and Rose, G. (eds) A Demanding World, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Barnes, D.K.A. (2002) ‘Invasions by marine life on plastic debris’, Nature, vol. 416, 25 April, pp. 808–9.
Barnett, C. (2006) ‘Reaching out: the demands of citizenship in a
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

2.4 Worlds in motion: the importance of flows

‘The sea had welled up suddenly through thousands of tiny holes in this atoll's bedrock of coral.’ Do you recall this passage in Lynas's (2003) account of his first days on Tuvalu in Reading 1A? For me, this gives an impression of the islands being quite literally porous, a solid ground that reveals itself, now and again, to be not so solid after all. Lynas offers this particularly striking example of the island's openness to the world around it as evidence of a growing vulnerability that
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

2.1 Issues of responsibility

The aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami saw an unprecedented aid effort to assist the affected regions. In the early days after the disaster, pledges of financial assistance from overseas governments were often outstripped by the generosity of their own populaces. This was a case when ordinary people around the world saw and were moved by the tragic circumstances of others far away (Rose, 2006), and they responded with gifts of money and provisions, and even with offers of their own sk
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • identify the economic issues faced by developing countries in mutilateral trade negotiations;

  • describe these issues from a developing country perspective;

  • explain how the economic power of nations impinges upon the ability of states to negotiate settlements that are beneficial to them.


Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

2.2 The purpose of this activity

For these short video extracts we have chosen to focus on two main viewpoints. Try not to look beyond the outline of the debate, for we are not expecting you to come to a conclusion about who is right and who is wrong – the issues are far too intricate for that. All you need to do is to recognise what the issues are and to be able to identify what arguments each side puts forward in support of its case.

The key skill being developed is identifying the arguments used by various individ
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

1.3 Activity 1

Activity 1

Before you read on, I would like you to dwell for just a moment on the significance of this shift from direct investment by Western firms to the establishment of subcontracting ties with overseas partners. Aside from outside
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

1.1Aim

The aim of this section is to practise the use of diagramming techniques as part of a fundamental shift in interpreting issues – from an assembly of static objects to a network of dynamic relationships.


Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share