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"Republicanism and Property-Owning Democracy: How Are They Connected?"

by White, Stuart (2016)

Abstract

In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls argues that social justice demands an economic regime like that of Property-Owning Democracy (POD). Rawls’s work is frequently categorised as ‘liberal’ and contrasted with ‘republicanism’. Challenging this opposition, this paper explores four ways in which republicanism and POD are supportively connected. Establishing a POD is at least helpful to republican legitimacy (first connection) and to republican liberty (second connection). It is reasonable, on Tocquevillian grounds, to think that republican citizenship is supportive of the stability of POD (third connection). In addition, a republican politics, affirming popular sovereignty over the constitution and seeking democratic reform, is arguably a precondition for serious policy moves in the direction of POD, at least in polities that have in recent decades experienced an oligarchic shift in power (fourth connection). Liberalism and republicanism are modular toolkits of ideas that, as this paper shows, may be usefully combined.

Keywords

Politics, Rawls, Property-Owning Democracy, Liberalism, Republicanism, Tocquevillian, Liberty

Themes

Workplace Republicanism, Political Centrality of Work, On Rawls, Rawls, Liberalism and Work

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