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This chapter examines economic rationalism, a discourse of environmental problem solving which builds on its advances in all areas of political life to generate alternatives to and remedies for the pathologies it identifies in both administration and liberal democratic governance. Economic rationalism may be defined by its commitment to the intelligent deployment of market mechanisms to achieve public ends. It differs from administrative rationalism in its hostility to environmental management by government administrators — except in establishing the basic parameters of designed markets. The chapter first considers the issue of privatization and private property rights before discussing less radical strands that stress market incentives but not necessarily private property. It also describes the discourse analysis of economic rationalism and concludes with an assessment of the limitations of economic rationalism, including its treatment of government.

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This chapter examines the concept of distributive justice, asking in particular whether citizens should have the liberty to acquire and dispose of property however they see fit, or whether there are justified restrictions on economic activity in the name of liberty or justice. It begins with a discussion of the problem of distributive justice, taking into account a variety of differing opinions on how a liberal society should distribute property, along with the so-called income parade. It then considers property and markets, focusing on John Locke's ideas, and the free market principle. It also explores John Rawls's theory of justice and some of the criticisms levelled against him, including those by Robert Nozick.

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This text explores the main questions of political philosophy and looks at some of the most influential answers, from the ancient Greeks to the present day. Each chapter takes on a particular question or controversy. The natural starting-point is political power, the right to command. The first chapter considers the question of what would happen in a ‘state of nature’ without government, while the second tackles the problem of political obligation. The third chapter is concerned with democracy, asking whether a state should be democratic, for example, or whether there is any rationale for preferring rule by the people to rule by an expert. The next two chapters deal with liberty and property. The text concludes by focusing on questions that have drawn greater attention in more recent decades, such as issues of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, immigration, global justice, and justice to future generations.

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This chapter examines Marxism as a normative political theory. It begins with a discussion of two strands of contemporary analytic Marxism’s critique of, and alternative to, liberal theories of justice. One strand rejects the very idea of justice. According to Marxists, justice seeks to mediate conflicts between individuals, whereas communism overcomes those conflicts, and hence overcomes the need for justice. The second strand shares liberalism’s emphasis on justice, but rejects the liberal belief that justice is compatible with private ownership of the means of production. Within this second strand, there is a division between those who criticize private property on the grounds of exploitation, and those who criticize it on the grounds of alienation. The chapter also explores non-Marxist conceptions of social democracy and social justice before concluding with an overview of the politics of Marxism.

Chapter

Alan Patten

This chapter examines the political ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. In his Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1821), Hegel articulates his views about reason, actuality, and philosophy. For Hegel, the task of philosophy is to identify and display the reason contained in the actual institutions and practices of the social world. Hegel believes that philosophy will be able to find reason in the institutions of the social world he inhabits. After providing a short biography of Hegel, this chapter considers some of the central themes and theses of the Philosophy of Right. It also explores several basic elements in Hegel's thought, including his concept of freedom, his ideas of spirit and dialectic, and his account of the institutions of property and contract. It concludes by reflecting on Hegel's significance as a political thinker.

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Katrin A. Flikschuh

This chapter examines the political ideas of Immanuel Kant. Kant is widely regarded as a precursor to current political liberalism. There are many aspects of Kant's political philosophy, including his property argument, that remain poorly understood and unjustly neglected. Many other aspects, including his cosmopolitanism, reveal Kant as perhaps one of the most systematic and consistent political thinkers. Underlying all these aspects of his political philosophy is an abiding commitment to his epistemological method of transcendental idealism. After providing a short biography of Kant, this chapter considers his epistemology as well as the relationship between virtue and justice in his practical philosophy. It also explores a number of themes in Kant's political thinking, including the idea of external freedom, the nature of political obligation, the vindication of property rights, the denial of a right to revolution, and the cosmopolitan scope of Kantian justice.

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6. Leave It to the Market  

Economic Rationalism

Economic rationalism involves the intelligent deployment of market instruments to achieve public ends such as environmental protection and resource conservation. The instruments in question can involve the establishment of private property rights in land, air, and water; “cap and trade” markets in pollution rights (emissions trading); tradeable quotes in resources such as fish; green taxes, such as a carbon tax; and the purchase of offsets to compensate for environmentally damaging behavior. These instruments have been adopted in many countries, though with some resistance from those who believe there is more to life than economic reasoning.

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This chapter examines the relationship between democratization and the economy. It first provides an historical overview of the emergence of capitalist democracy before discussing some general problems of the relationship between democracy and capitalism, highlighting the main areas in which the two systems condition each other. It then considers the role of business in democratizing countries, and more specifically the role of business actors in the transition to democracy. It also explores the intricacies of combining major political and economic reforms. Some key points are emphasized; for example, capitalism focuses on property rights while democracy focuses on personal rights. Furthermore, capitalism produces inequality, which can both stimulate and hamper democratization.

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David Bates

This chapter examines the key ideas and concepts of ‘classical’ anarchist thinkers. Among the ideas associated with anarchism are: a belief in the potential of human nature, and a corresponding critique of arbitrary authority; a refusal of state authority; a rejection of the institution of private property; militant atheism; and an emphasis on the importance of revolutionary politics. The chapter first considers how anarchist views on human nature, the state, political action, private property, and religion vary, and where possible, what unites them. It then discusses recent critical responses to anarchism, particularly ‘post-anarchism’, and specific historical examples of anarchism. It also analyses the extent to which anarchism can be regarded as a cohesive political ideology.

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Camilla Boisen

This chapter examines Hugo Grotius' key political ideas. Grotius, one of the most prolific and erudite writers of the seventeenth century, sought to formulate a set of universal rights and duties that would secure peace by constraining states in their internal and external relations. Drawing on a wide range of philosophical and literary sources, including Roman law, ancient classics, theology, and poetry, Grotius rehabilitated the natural law in an attempt to achieve harmony in an increasingly splintered political environment. After providing a short biography of Grotius, the chapter analyses his views on natural law, natural rights, property rights, sociability, self-preservation, and social contracts. It also discusses Grotius' arguments regarding international order in the context of just war theory and punishment and concludes with an assessment of Grotius' legacy in the area of political thought.

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Jeremy Waldron

This chapter examines and defends the relevance of John Locke's writings as political philosophy. Locke's political philosophy continues to have an enormous impact on the framing and the pursuit of liberal ideas in modern political thought — ideas about social contract, government by consent, natural law, equality, individual rights, civil disobedience, and private property. The discussion and application of Locke's arguments is thus an indispensable feature of political philosophy as it is practised today. After providing a short biography of Locke, the chapter considers his views on equality and natural law, property, economy, and disagreement, as well as limited government, toleration, and the rule of law. It concludes with an assessment of Locke's legacy as a political thinker.