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2 L. & Ethics Hum. Rts. 1 (2008)

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Editors: Foreword


   This year's issue is based on the articles presented at the Academic Center of
Law  & Business  second international human rights conference on the subject of
Demography and Human Rights. The conference examined the role of
demographic   considerations in internal public policy and immigration policy
raising challenging questions such as can a state strive to maintain a certain
ethnic balance? Is it legitimate for the state to encourage higher birth rates, and
if it is, can it do so along ethnic lines? While the morality of demographic
considerations is rarely addressed by legal scholars and political theorists, their
increasing use in the public policy debate in different parts of the world such as
Europe  and  Israel makes the discussion of the morality of the  demographic
discourse and its implications for human rights (especially ethnic minorities and
women)   important. This issue of the journal hopes to fill this gap by initiating
the philosophical and legal discussion on these issues.
   In the opening article, Seyla Benhabib argues that attempts by nation states to
pursue demographic  objectives in a globalized world are both unethical and futile.
Taking  a cosmopolitan perspective, she argues that democracy and demography
are always  in tension.  Benhabib   discusses three phenomena-transnational
migrations, the emergence  of zones  of international capitalism escaping state
sovereignty, and the rise of law without the state-which make the pursuance
of demographic  objectives by states especially ineffectual. Yossi Dahan and
Yossi Yonah   in their comment on  Behabib's article criticize her cosmopolitan
stance for  underestimating the  importance  of communal belonging to the
individual and use the  example  of migrant workers  in Israel to evaluate the
strengths and weaknesses of Benhabib's cosmopolitan approach.
   Jose Brunner uses the German   contemporary  public debate on demographic
decline due to sub replacement fertility rates, in order to contrast liberal rights
reasoning  with  demographic   reasoning.   He   argues  that liberalism and
demography   offer competing world  views, and  while liberalism conceives of
humans  as autonomous  agents driven by rational self-interest, demography refers
to them as mutually dependent members  of a population. According to Brunner's
argument, nevertheless, they both overlook the embeddedness of the individual in
a particular society with a historically evolved culture and social institutions, and
its effects on individual decisions and on demographic outcomes.
   The liberal underpinnings of diversity management in the U.S. are thoughtfully
discussed in Peter Shuck's article. Using the examples of census categories and
ethno-racial profiling he defends a liberal approach to diversity management that
emphasizes  government  neutrality, group competition, anti-discrimination, and
free and informed  choice.  Schuck  suggests that the U.S. government  should
abandon  conventional ethno-racial categories altogether.
   Various groups of immigrants are perceived by some as a threat to the public
culture of Western  democratic states. Christian Joppke  offers a comparative


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