chapter  4
18 Pages

Rights and codes of practice

As Chapter 3 showed, one of the principal problems with utilitarianism is that the well-being of minorities can be threatened wherever or whenever their needs or desires clash with those that might be deemed to facilitate a greater good. This means, for example, that utilitarianism can easily be used to justify the displacement of individuals or small-scale indigenous communities by tourist developments when the changes offer significant benefits for a region or country as a whole, even if the consequences for the minority are very serious. This seems quite wrong, because the leisure pursuits of tourists surely should not take precedence over the livelihoods or even lives of people already occupying an area. Golf simply is not as important as grain (Ling, 1995). Ethics must have a role in protecting the vital needs of minorities and/or those without political clout and economic power. This is usually seen to be the role of legislation and codes based on the recognition of human rights, and it is to these we now turn. We begin by examining the political origins and philosophical underpinnings of rights discourses and then turn to the relationship between rights and development and their influence on codes of practice in the tourism industry.