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Economic rights of citizenship

Citizens have economic rights to control their property, labor, and working conditions. These include the right to acquire, use, transfer, and dispose of property, receive fair compensation for property taken for public use, copyright and patent protection, and the freedom to choose work, earn a wage, and join unions or professional associations. Created by Kimberly Kutz.

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Video transcript

- [Narrator] The last set of rights we'll discuss in this lesson are the economic rights of citizens. These are the rights that citizens have to control their own property, labor and working conditions. This includes all of the rights associated with your ability to make money and your ability to own stuff. The most basic of these rights is to acquire, use, transfer and dispose off property. That is you can buy stuff, you can use it, you can give it or sell it to someone else and you can throw it away. These property rights also include your right to receive just compensation for the taking of private property for public use, which is protected by the fifth amendment. So if the government decides that they need your yard, because they're building a highway, they must compensate you fairly for that lands. The government also protects your rights to copyright and patent so that you can sue someone who steals your ideas, work or inventions. So this includes your right to own things that aren't physical objects or lands, like a song you wrote. Then there are the economic rights that safeguard your freedom to own your own labor and the money you earn from it. Those include the right to earn a wage, the right to choose your own work and change your employment and the right to work in safe conditions. Lastly, you have economic rights to associate with and combine your interests with others. Such as the right to join labor unions and professional associations to advocate for yourself and for other members of your profession. You can establish and operate a business and enter into lawful contracts with others. The ability to own one's own property, labor and business dealings is foundational to the system of capitalism, in which individuals control economic organizations rather than the state or co-operatives. So now let's do a couple of scenarios, so you can check your skills. I'll give you a scenario and you see if you can identify which economic right is being exercised or violated. Number one, Yael and a group of her coworkers are frustrated with the working conditions at the grocery store they work at. They're forced to work 10 hours days with only a 30 minute break for lunch. Several of her co-workers have started reporting knee problems because they aren't allowed to sit. Yael gathers a majority of employees to talk about organizing a union to demand less hours and more breaks. Her boss hears about the meeting and fires Yael. Which right, did her employer violate in this scenario? The right to join a labor union. Yael has the right to join unions or professional associations as she chooses. Number two, one day, a city council member knocks on Tai's door. He tells Tai that the city needs half of his backyard to expand the public park that sits on the other side of Tai's fence. Tai refuses to give the land away, but the city council member tells Tai he doesn't have a choice and that he will receive a cheque for $50 to repair the fence once they take it down tomorrow. Which right did the city council violate in this scenario? The right to just compensation for the taking of private property for public use. Tai's back yard is worth a lot more than $50. Number three, Hamza's boss calls him into his office one day and lets him know that there's a new opening in another department in the company. But Hamza doesn't want to move departments and enjoys the job he has. He requests not to change. His boss tells him that if he doesn't move to the new department, she'll have to fire him. Instead, Hamza quits. He starts looking for a new job immediately. Which right did Hamza use in this scenario? He used his right to change employment. Okay. That's all for this video. What do you think is the most important economic right? What would be the consequences if you didn't have one of these rights?