In the 1970s, a movement emerged to declare a "right" to development and create an
international law of development. This movement is amply documented in Professor
Carty's anthology. The international law of development deals with corrective measures
designed to alter structural deficiencies considered damaging to the economic development
of developing nations.
The newly claimed right to development is considered part
of an array of rights that follows the establishment of the first generation of human rights
(political and civil rights) and the second generation of human rights (social, economic, and
cultural rights). As former colonies gained independence and became members of the
United Nations (UN), they began to push, through the auspices of the UN General
Assembly, for the declaration of new rights, such as the right to a new international
economic order43 or the right to development. Because developing countries constitute the
majority in the General Assembly (which functions under a one-country, one-vote rule), a
concerted effort was made to utilize the General Assembly as a forum for lawmaking. As
Professor Philip Alston notes in his article defending the right to development: '"in
practice, a claim is an international human right if the United Nations General Assembly
says it is. "
The objective of this emerging movement is to link human rights with development
and thus create a human right to development.
For the most part, the right to development movement and the international law of
development are linked to and inspired by the analysis of international economic relations
offered by the dependency model of law and development. Both schools subscribe to some
variant of the dependency model's structural view of the international economy. According
to dependency theorists, because underdevelopment is caused by structural barriers that
have survived colonization and continue to dominate the relationship between the
developed and the developing worlds, the integration of developing nations into the global
economy will only perpetuate dependency.
Ironically, even though dependency theorists like Marx and Engels downplayed the
importance of law, the dependency model has succeeded in spawning an international law
of development, which includes a range of issues represented in the collection of articles
included in Parts II and III of Professor Carty's anthology.
The international law of development has been successful in bringing to the forefront
the persistent economic problems faced by developing nations.
To the e~ent that the right to development has influenced the international law of
development and brought to the forefront the historical and structural impediments to
economic development, it has had a positive effect. As discussed above, issues such as
debt relief, the volatility of primary commodities, technology transfers, nonreciprocal tariff
preferences, and codes of conduct for transnational corporations have become routine legal
matters within the field, thanks largely to the efforts of the international law of
development and the right to development movement.