Republicanism and wage-labour

In a previous post, I presented a criticism of republicanism’s inability to adequately address the problems of power exerted in the modern capitalist economy. This should come as no surprise really, given that the republican notion of liberty as ‘non-domination’ was articulated within the context of pre-capitalist economies characterized by the employment of dependent forms … More Republicanism and wage-labour

Cicero, Roman Republicanism and the Contested Meaning of Libertas

Despite the growing interest in neo-Roman republicanism, few republicans examine the character of Roman republicanism, either in its constitutional practice, its social relations or in the works of its primary defenders. This article examines Cicero’s two systematic dialogues of political philosophy – De Re Publica and De Legibus – in order to assess the status … More Cicero, Roman Republicanism and the Contested Meaning of Libertas

Athenian Democracy and Politial Theory

There has been a long-standing tradition within political theory of characterizing Athenian democracy as a form of ‘positive’ or ‘ancient’ liberty in opposition to ‘modern’ conceptions of ‘negative’ liberty. This stems largely from Berlin’s critique of positive liberty and Constant’s critique of ancient liberty. The influence of these two thinkers has dominated much of the … More Athenian Democracy and Politial Theory

The Invention of Market Freedom

Eric MacGilvray’s book, The Invention of Market Freedom (Cambridge University Press, 2011) presents a compelling and convincing narrative of the historical eclipse of the republican conception of freedom by the more familiar market conception of freedom in the context of the synthesis of liberal and republican thought in the late eighteenth century. The crux of the argument is that … More The Invention of Market Freedom

The Technocratic Tendencies of Contemporary Neo-liberalism

‘The Programme of Liberalism, if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property, that is, private ownership of the means of production. All the other demands of liberalism result from this fundamental demand.’ Ludwig Von Mises[1] The general contours of the neo-liberal conception of the state are now quite well known. Positing a … More The Technocratic Tendencies of Contemporary Neo-liberalism