Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Property-Owning Democracy: A Short History

Ben Jackson (Oxford) has posted a very interesting paper at

"Property-Owning Democracy: A Short History"

"The rise to prominence of the term “property-owning democracy” in late twentieth-century political discourse and political theory is, on the face of it, a confusing and contradictory story. Political theorists following in the footsteps of John Rawls alighted upon the idea of a property-owning democracy in the 1980s and 1990s as a non-socialist model for the advancement of egalitarian distributive objectives. In the same period, intellectuals and politicians associated with the rise of neo-liberalism, in particular those attached to the Thatcher government in the UK, sought to foster a property-owning democracy that was indifferent to a significant widening of income and wealth inequalities and was explicitly intended to undermine the electoral base of egalitarian politics. But these two versions of this fertile objective were not as distinct as they might appear, since both had in fact grown from the same historical root."

The paper is published in Martin O’Neill and Thad Williamson (eds.) - "Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond" (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). See my post on the book here.

Ben Jackson is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Oxford.

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