From rights to requirements

When governments require us to pay private enterprises to access constitutional rights, we need to look beyond the excuse of ‘digital inclusion’.

26 September 2022

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the right to participate in a digital society has morphed into the requirement to do so, as rights so often do.

Think, for a politically incorrect, but still unfortunately accurate moment, how the right for women to go to work fought for so courageously by feminists past has insidiously morphed into the requirement for women to work – single income families simply cannot compete financially with double-income homes. An unintended tragedy of the economic commons; only the wealthiest women can afford to opt out of their ‘right’ to be economically active. Today, alas, the right not to work is the privilege worth fighting for (see the rise of calls for a universal basic income, for example). But let us park that dangerous thought and look to the present.

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