(image source: Oxford Journals)
This article examines the conception of social rights found in the writings of François-Noël Babeuf in the late eighteenth century and those of his followers, the neo-Babouvists, in the first half of the nineteenth. Both believed that social rights were to be based on natural needs, which they categorized as physical and moral: while physical needs necessitated the right to subsistence, moral needs encompassed the right to education. Babeuf and the neo-Babouvists also believed that social rights were inseparable from principles of equality and the reciprocity of rights and duties among society’s members. The neo-Babouvists developed this notion of reciprocity into the view that labour laws and the right to work constituted the legitimate and reciprocal counterparts of the property rights of employers. This balancing of property rights and workers’ rights was to be provisional, however, pending the transformation of society towards a community of goods.
(source: Oxford Journals)