Politics, Philosophy & Economics (forthcoming 2015, published online 2014)
The revival of classical liberal thought has reignited a debate about economic freedom and social justice. Classical liberals claim to defend expansive economic freedom, while their critics wish to restrict this freedom for other values. However, inconsistency and indeterminacy in the way freedom is used in this debate means that a freedom-centered left-wing critique of poverty and markets gets illegitimately excluded.
In the nineteenth century a group of “labor republicans” argued that the system of wage-labor should be replaced by a system of cooperative production. This system of cooperative production would realize republican liberty in economic, not just political, life. This essay reconstructs this radical, labor republican view and defends it against the prevailing the neo-republican one. It argues that neorepublicanism lacks an adequate conception of structural domination, which leaves it without theoretical resources to address certain forms of economic domination. The concept of structural domination allows us to comprehend the coherence of the nineteenth century, labor republican view and identify its relevance to modern labor markets. It shows us how the republican theory of liberty can support an argument for the transformation of work, not just the escape from it.
This article reappraises the political ideas of William Manning, and through him the trajectory of early modern republicanism. Manning, an early American farmer writing in the 1780s and 1790s, developed the republican distinction between “the idle Few” and “the laboring Many” into a novel “political theory of the dependent classes.” On this theory, it is the dependent, laboring classes who share an interest in social equality. Because of this interest, they are the only ones who can achieve and maintain republican liberty.
Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory, 2011, 18:3, 431-454
The problem of slavery was at the heart of classical republican thought but neo-republican thinkers have had much less to say about the relationship between republican liberty and labor arrangements. This article argues that the paradox of slavery and freedom should play a more central role in thinking about republican liberty.
Environmentalism, in particular fears of eco-apocalypse, have become the Left's politics of fear, mimicking many of the problematic features of the war on terror. The attempt to substitute survival for freedom and equality can only have authoritarian consequences and betray the very goals that once guided those interested in human progress.
Contemporary human rights thinking tends to think that rights are only instrumentally related to the freedom of the rights-bearing subject. One can be a rights-bearer or have human rights without in anyway being considered a moral agent, able to claim those rights through ones own political agency. This is a threat to the classical liberal interest in avoiding paternalistic exercises of state power and in respecting the freedom of the individual.
This is a chronological selection, with links, of my main publications. If you would like to read any of the gated material feel free to email me. For a full list see my CV.