A country, or group within a country, is discriminated against whenever earnings are shown to be lower than that warranted by abilities.
The overall body of codified documents on human rights is the best criterion by which to determine when an economic situation becomes a situation of permanent and persistent violation of the rights of individuals, of their economic, social and cultural rights. Both in theory and in practice, it is possible to establish a distinction between economic behaviour and its evaluation in the perspective of human rights. A particular economy could show positive macroeconomic indicators, for example, growth, inflation, national accounts, exports, etc., notwithstanding the existence within it of, intolerable levels of income inequality, very high degrees of discrimination, social exclusion, and poverty. The rights of individuals established in codified human rights documents thus constitute the only general criterion for the establishment of minimum acceptable or unacceptable standards in economic and social matters at the national and international levels.