6.7.3 Individual Rights and Responsibilities

An individual’s rights and responsibilities in a country are politically determined.  They partly depend upon whether the person is deemed to be a citizen of that country.  It is a politically contested topic because globalisation has led to an increase in population movement: some people want migration to be as smooth as possible, whereas others want to put controls in place.  Countries vary in how easy it is to apply for citizenship, for example.

The following sub-sections examine the rights and responsibilities of each status of individual:

●  Some rights and responsibilities apply to everyone, including temporary visitors (6.7.3.1).  Everyone benefits from public infrastructure and most public services, pays sales taxes, must obey the law, and should be courteous to everybody else.

●  Permanent residents – ‘denizens’ – have additional rights and responsibilities, which may be discretionary (6.7.3.2).  They contribute a lot to society, paying more taxes than visitors.  There is a good case for giving them a route to full citizenship.

●  Citizens have more automatic rights and responsibilities than denizens or visitors (6.7.3.3).  They can participate in politics, and they may feel a sense of belonging to the country and wanting it to get better.

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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/673.htm.