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‘Human Dignity’ as an Indispensable Requirement for Sustainable Regional Economic Integration

Seung Hwan Choi

JEAIL Volume 6, Number 1 (2013), 81-105


This article proposes the principle of human dignity as an indispensable requirement for sustainable regional economic integration, especially in East Asia. The contribution of free trade to economic growth and development is widely acknowledged. The economic survival of workers and farmers lacking international competitiveness has been, however, endangered, because of the expansion of trade liberalization and investment based on economic integration. Economic integration that ensures human dignity will promote successful and sustainable regional economic integration, by balancing economic prosperity and social integration. In this context, this article reviews the value and concept of human dignity as a goal and principle for regional economic integration. The author contends that neither sustainable prosperity nor a high level of economic development is itself a goal of economic integration, but merely a means by which to improve human dignity. Economic integration should, therefore, serve not only to maintain sustainable prosperity, but also to maximize human dignity.

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