The first book length study of property-owning democracy, Republic of Equals argues that a society in which capital is universally accessible to all citizens is uniquely placed to meet the demands of justice. Arguing from a basis in liberal-republican principles, this expanded conception of the economic structure of society contextualizes the market to make its transactions fair. The author shows that a property-owning democracy structures economic incentives such that the domination of one agent by another in the market is structurally impossible. The result is a renovated form of capitalism in which the free market is no longer a threat to social democratic values, but is potentially convergent with them. It is argued that a property-owning democracy has advantages that give it priority over rival forms of social organization such as welfare state capitalism and market socialist institutions. The book also addresses the currently high levels of inequality in the societies of the developed West to suggest a range of policies that target the "New Inequality" of our times. For this reason, the work engages not only with political philosophers such as John Rawls, Philip Pettit and John Tomasi, but also with the work of economists and historians such as Anthony B. Atkinson, François Bourguignon, Jacob S. Hacker, Lane Kenworthy, and Thomas Piketty.
About the Author
Alan Thomas is currently Professor of Ethics at the University of York. Educated at Cambridge, Harvard (as a Kennedy Scholar), and Oxford Universities he has held visiting appointments at the University of British Columbia, Tulane University, St. Louis University and the Australian National University. His interests in philosophy include moral and political philosophy, epistemology and the philosophy of mind
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Rawls, Republicanism and Liberal-republicanism
Chapter Two: Justice, Pareto and Equality.
Chapter Three: G. A. Cohen's neo-Marxist Critique of Rawls
Chapter Five: Three Forms of Republican Egalitarianism.
Chapter Six: A Liberal-republican Economic System
Chapter Seven: Rawls's Critique of Welfare State Capitalism.
Chapter Eight: Property-owning Democracy Versus Market Socialism
Chapter Nine: Towards a Pluralistic Commonwealth
Chapter Ten: Classical Liberalism and Property-owning Democracy
Chapter Eleven: A Realistic Utopianism?
Chapter Twelve: Inequality and Globalization
Conclusion: Nothing is Obvious