Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights

The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy

In the above film review Dr. Bramhall points out that

“Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights included the basic right of all Americans to

• Employment (right to work)
• Food, clothing and leisure, via enough income to support them
• Farmers’ rights to a fair income
• Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies
• Housing
• Medical care
• Social security
• Education”

Dr. Bramhall says:

“For me, the most interesting part of his presentation was a discussion of Franklin D Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights.* According to McChesney, both Germany and Japan incorporated this Second Bill of Rights into their constitutions after World War II. This, in his view, explains why both countries have become economic powerhouses.”

and she says in reply to a comment: “What I found even more surprising was learning that US government (as an occupying power) wrote the Japanese and German constitutions incorporating the Second Bill of Rights.”


2 thoughts on “Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights

  1. This is such an interesting post, Uta. I certainly benefit from the principles, but I’ve never heard them called the Second Bill of Rights. I absolutely love that. Roosevelt was hardly a perfect man, but Americans continue to benefit from his Presidency! Fascinating, too, about the inclusion of this Second Bill of Rights in both the German and Japanese constitutions post WW II.

    1. Thanks very much for commenting, Debra.
      I just listened to this YouTube tape again where Roosevelt says at the end:

      ” . . . For unless there is security at home,
      there cannot be lasting peace in the world.”

      After World War Two American policy was to support all these human rights. Accordingly West-Germans and Japanese were not willing to submit to Sowjet propaganda. The Western standard of living that ensued kept people in the West from wanting to become communists. The Cold war that developed very much benefited all people in Western countries at the time. As soon as the Cold War ended, these basic human rights were not seen as of supreme importance any more.

      In this connection it is interesting what McChesney says in his research about conditions in America today:as pointed out by Dr Bramhall in her film review:

      “. . . McChesney begins with research indicating that 50% of current jobs will be eliminated by robots and artificial intelligence in the next 10-20 years. He also talks about the inherent inability of a scarcity/profit based economic system to address this crisis . . . . ”

      If this crisis can’t be addressed, does it mean that people are left without basic human rights? Meanwhile the super rich are on the rise. But we cannot all be super rich, can we? Most people would be happy just to be assured basic human rights, I think.

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