The dominating effects of economic crises

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 24 (6):884-908 (2021)
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Abstract

This article argues that economic crises are incompatible with the realisation of non-domination in capitalist societies. The ineradicable risk that an economic crisis will occur undermines the robust security of the conditions of non-domination for all citizens, not only those who are harmed by a crisis. I begin by demonstrating that the unemployment caused by economic crises violates the egalitarian dimensions of freedom as non-domination. The lack of employment constitutes an exclusion from the social bases of self-respect, and from a practice of mutual social contribution crucial to the intersubjective affirmation of one’s status. While this argument shows that republicans must be concerned about economic crises, I suggest a more powerful argument can be grounded in the republican requirement that freedom must be robust. The systemic risk of economic crisis constitutes a threat to the conditions of free citizenship that cannot be nullified using policy mechanisms. As a result, republicans appear to be faced with the choice of revising their commitments or rejecting the possibility that republican freedom can be robustly secured in capitalist societies.

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Alexander Bryan
Cardiff University

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