Market Freedom as Antipower

American Political Science Review 107 (3):593-602 (2013)
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Historically, republicans were of different minds about markets: some, such as Rousseau, reviled them, while others, like Adam Smith, praised them. The recent republican resurgence has revived this issue. Classical liberals such as Gerald Gaus contend that neo-republicanism is inherently hostile to markets, while neo-republicans like Richard Dagger and Philip Pettit reject this characterization—though with less enthusiasm than one might expect. I argue here that the right republican attitude toward competitive markets is celebratory rather than acquiescent and that republicanism demands such markets for the same reason it requires the rule of law: because both are essential institutions for protecting individuals from arbitrary interference. I reveal how competition restrains—and in the limit, even eradicates—market power and thereby helps us realize “market freedom,” i.e., freedom as non-domination in the context of economic exchange. Finally, I show that such freedom necessitates “Anglo-Nordic” economic policies.

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Robert S. Taylor
University of California, Davis


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