Democracy and Capitalism: Property, Community, and the Contradictions of Modern Social Thought

Democracy and Capitalism: Property, Community, and the Contradictions of Modern Social Thought

Democracy and Capitalism: Property, Community, and the Contradictions of Modern Social Thought

Democracy and Capitalism: Property, Community, and the Contradictions of Modern Social Thought

Excerpt

Our thinking about democracy and domination represents a fusion of three quite distinct strands of thought. One is the radical democratic tradition and its expression in the social movements of the 1960s and later decades. The second is liberal social theory and social science. The third is Marxism. Or perhaps more correctly put, our thinking has evolved through a sustained encounter between the hope and rage of the radical democratic movements of our time and the two now-dominant intellectual traditions.

The outcome of this encounter has been two convictions: a recognition of the multifaceted character of power in modern societies, and an appreciation of the centrality of learning and human development in the analysis of power and the rectification of its abuses. These may be considered novel concerns for those trained academically as economists, but this impression would be only partly accurate. The intimate relationship between political theory and economics dates back at least to Thomas Hobbes and the origins of liberal social theory in the seventeenth century. It is today expressed in the almost wholesale adoption of neoclassical economic thinking as the model, if not the actual analytical framework, of much political theory.

Not surprisingly, our critique of contemporary Marxian and liberal political theory is in important measure based on the shortcomings of the often implicit economic theory that underlies both. In the themes raised, if not in the content, our analysis of the predicament of contemporary democratic thought echoes the concerns of earlier writers on economics such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Stuart Mill.

If there is anything novel about our integration of economics and politics it is that, unlike the dominant tendency for the past two centuries, which has seen the infusion of political thinking with economic metaphor, we . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.