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20 Examples of Economic Rights

Economic rights are legal rights and freedoms that are a foundation for economic activity in a society. These are the rights that allow an individual to pursue the profession and work of their choosing and to seek economic opportunity such as starting a business. The following are common examples of economic rights.
Cultural Rights
Freedom from Bondage and Slavery
Freedom of Assembly
Freedom of Association
Freedom of Competition
Freedom of Movement
Freedom of Speech
Property Rights
Right to Education
Right to Equal Treatment
Right to Human Dignity
Right to Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness
Right to Live Where You Want
Right to Marry and Found a Family
Right to Organize
Right to Pursue a Profession of Your Choosing
Right to Retain Profits
Right to Start a Business
Right to Work
Workers' Rights
Property rights typically include rights to intangible property such as a copyright on a song or a trademark on a brand name.
Cultural rights may include a right to pursue traditional economic practices. For example, farming practices that have long existed that can't be banned in the interests of large corporate entities.
Basic rights such as freedom of movement and speech are required to pursue economic opportunity. For example, if you are prevented from leaving your home you may not be able to pursue a profession or business.
The right to form a union and related rights such as freedom of assembly and association are economic rights.
The right to live where you want refers to choosing to move to any city or state within a country where you are permitted to live. This is a type of freedom of movement.
A large number of rights relate to working conditions and worker's rights. For example, a right to safety, security and privacy.
It could be argued that workers' rights are required to sustain a capitalist system because workers would be likely to overthrow a system that pushes them into unsafe and unhealthy toilsome work with low wages.

Conflicting Rights & Freedoms

Rights tend to conflict. For example, your right to own land could conflict with another person's freedom of movement. This can be easily demonstrated with a thought experiment such as a monopoly that owns all the land on a small but heavily populated island.

Limits on Rights

In practice, rights and freedoms are always limited in some way. For example, if a government doesn't regulate monopolies and prevent them from controlling industries -- competition and open markets will breakdown such that all economic rights could eventually cease as the monopolistic firm begins to resemble a communist state that controls all capital.


Taxation is another common example of a limit on rights whereby you may keep the profits of your business or your wages from work but are typically subject to taxation. This is a practical thing whereby a business couldn't function efficiently without the public infrastructure, public services, social stability and quality of life that taxes fund. However, if taxation becomes overly burdensome or complex, this may have a chilling effect on rights and freedoms and diminish economic activity.

Economic Rights vs Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Economic rights are the foundational rights and freedoms that are required for a capitalist system whereby people pursue economic opportunity such as work, professions and business and retain the profits from these ventures. This should not be confused with a similar term -- Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that relate to things such as guaranteed universal income whereby taxation is used to provide all with some a basic standard of living.
Overview: Economic Rights
Definition (1)
Legal rights and freedoms that are a foundation for economic activity in a society.
Definition (2)
The rights and freedoms that are required to sustain a capitalist society.
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