Does market Democracy offer an attractive reconciliation between Classical Liberalism and High Liberalism?
A market democracy is also known as democratic capitalism or capitalist democracy. This is defined as a social, political and economic system that is a tripartite kind of arrangement. It is an economy that is market and democratically based. Here, the government gives economic incentives through fiscal policies and free markets. On the other hand, classical liberalism is defined as an ideology and philosophy that belongs to the liberalism school of thought. It emphasizes secure freedom of individuals that has a limited kind of government. In this kind of liberalism, the government does not have much power or control. The power is in the hands of the people or citizens (Tomasi, 13). When it comes to high liberalism, the definition differs slightly to the definition of classical liberalism. Nevertheless, they are different concepts. High liberalism is defined as the kind of liberalism that considers civil and political liberties very seriously. This is the first characteristic of high liberalism. High liberalism isolates two main economic liberties. That is, the right to own personal property and the freedom or right to occupation. The believers in this kind of liberalism believe that these are just basic liberties thus enjoy a standing that is less, thus, needs less protection. The best definition of this kind of liberalism is the kind of liberalism that considers economic liberty less significant than both political do and civil liberties. However, it has few exceptions. Some scholars have called it economic exceptionalism.
John Tomasi has developed a way to reconcile market fairness that is free with material betterment of the poor. He calls it ‘free market fairness’. Whilst doing this, he asks the western nations to think and change their attitudes towards economic liberty that is free. John Tomasi says that FA Hayek and Michael Oakeshott wrongly or rightly, according to how an individual takes it, in the defense of the government on the rights of the citizens to own private property. On the other hand, there are egalitarian or modern liberals that call themselves high liberals that look at economic liberties as lesser liberties. This group is dominant. They consider social justice as the top most agenda (Tomasi 43). He (John Tomasi) says that academicians like Ronal Dworkin, John Rawls and Tony Judt belong to this kind of group. The Labor Party is the party with most of these individuals.
It is said that all kinds of liberals, whether high or classical have one thing in common. They all value political and civil rights. John Tomasi affirms this. He adds that the only difference that occurs between the two is their opinion about economic rights. That is, employment, rights of individuals to start businesses, decision to save or not and the amount of income that is earned. He says that libertarians have ideas that are in most cases not implementable. Mr. Tomasi I says that philosophers that belong to classical liberalists do not see personal agency as important as the high liberals see it. This makes their philosophies less implementable. He says, ‘diminishing personal agency in economic affairs drains vital blood from a person’s life’. This is because these individuals believe that institutions that are capitalistic in nature are efficient in defending the market society.
When it comes to classical liberalists, Mr. John Tomasi says that the concept of social justice is the most important to them. They are more interested in the social order of a community rather than the political and economic parts. This kind of liberalists emphasizes the public justification and social justice. They are less interested in the democratic citizen and utility maxi miser. This is where the two kinds of liberalists (Classical and High liberalists) differ. Both have different conceptions of moral personhood. These two camps differ in other ways. For example, democracy or capitalism, Rawls or Hayek, Occupy London or the Tea Party and whether the markets should be free or fair. This is where John Tomasi proposes the reconciliation. He says that there should be a liberal justice based on moral standard that disrupts the above orthodoxy. He says that though he believes in that individuals must have human freedom to have economic liberty, there should also be commitment to social justice and high liberal ideas. He says ‘I cross the frozen sea and affirms the left liberal idea of the democratic citizen. Affirming the same conception of the person as the left liberals, and yet carrying with me moral insights from the libertarian camp, I then invite left liberals to begin thinking a new about the moral requirements of democratic citizenship’ (Tomasi, 51).
In addition, John Tomasi proposes the interpretation of ‘free market fairness’. As discussed above, this is what he developed as a way to reconcile market fairness that is free with material betterment of the poor. In this, he seeks to combine two immiscible. These are social justice and economic liberty. Likewise, he seeks to combine capitalism and democracy, Haye and Rawls and Tea Party and Occupy London. He uses an argument that is a unique combination of economic liberty that is private, distributive justice that is conventional, economic liberty and social justice. He uses John Maynard Keynes argument that moral importance is more important than economic activity. He also uses Rawls’ traditionalistic kind of argument that liberty is junction point that is the key and has a historical thought that is liberal. Rawls liberalism is workable not only in a social state, but also in an expansive one. This has been proven in history. He uses the works of Richard Titmuss to predict the productivity that has increased in nations due to rapid industrialization that was more of liberal idea than capitalistic.
John Tomasi nevertheless admits something. He says that in almost all the liberal societies, wealth makes workers less enthusiastic about getting into unions that have a collective structure of bargaining. This is because as incomes rise, citizens that are working become less willing to pay taxes to give support to service programs that are state-based. He adds that when wealth increases in many liberal societies, the exercise of having private liberty becomes less important. Therefore, he says that economic liberties that are private must be affirmed so that the citizens of the said society make good decisions about how to spend their earnings, how many hours they work and how to balance e family and work, as well as, other projects. This kind of social order, he says, respects the needs and wants of citizens the most. He adds that it also encourages individuals to develop moral powers and protects the liberty rights of citizens (Tomasi, 79).
John Tomasui says that the balance of life must be about the values of the morals that each of us hold dear. The reconciliation between classical and high liberalist brought about by market democracy is imminent and obvious. He says that market democracy fuses the democratic ideas with the high liberalism. The definition of high liberalism states that this is this kind of liberalism is the kind of liberalism that considers economic liberty less significant than both political do and civil liberties. However, it has few exceptions. Some scholars have called it economic exceptionalism. It leaves out economic liberties. Market democracy is about free markets. Mr. Tomasi also fuses classical liberalism with market democracy and high liberalism (Tomasi, 101). This fusing is what the reconciliative part of it that brings the together. He says that any society is supposed to be distributive. It also supposed to protect the basic rights of both individuals and institutions
The work of Mr. Tomasi is a combination of his ideas and the work of other great philosophers and economists. Through his writing, he has cited various authors that have been mentioned above. He has also used philosophers’ work to define his work. In his last justification and explanation, he uses the work of Rawls, Keynes and Mill. He says that all the three men were drawn to the moral idea of a no-growth economy. However, for other thinkers that he calls left thinkers, he says that economic growth was important. However, in a capitalistic society, the poor and the less able usually take the back seat. This is why there are poor people. Both the high and classical liberalists must therefore, hold the value of social justice high so that no citizen is left poor.
In summary, yes, market Democracy offers an attractive reconciliation between Classical Liberalism and High Liberalism. How this happens has been explained above. For example, through a liberal justice based on moral standard that disrupts the above orthodoxy. He says that though he believes in that individuals must have human freedom to have economic liberty, there should also be commitment to social justice and high liberal ideas. He says ‘I cross the frozen sea and affirms the left liberal idea of the democratic citizen. Affirming the same conception of the person as the left liberals, and yet carrying with me moral insights from the libertarian camp, I then invite left liberals to begin thinking a new about the moral requirements of democratic citizenship’. His explanations are valid and up to the point. His explanation of a ‘free market fairness’ is also very well put. He goes ahead to explain why he calls it so. In addition, he gives evidence.
Should economic liberties be seen as Rawlsian basic liberties?
What are economic liberties? That is the first question that comes to mind when this question is considered. An economic liberty is defined as the ability of a citizen or society members to freely decide on their own economic actions and directions. It is also known as economic freedom. There are various conceptions attributed to this freedom. One, it is associated with private property, free trade and free market. This is the liberation or classical liberal kind of definition. The second extends its association to welfare economics whereby an individual’s free choice and general economic freedom is studied. On the other hand, Rawlsian basic liberties are defined in his book, ‘A Theory of Justice’ (Rawls, 19). There is no clear definition. However, Rawls attempts to solve a problem here. This problem is distributive justice. He uses the social contract as a familiar device to do this. In his definition of economic liberty, he comes up with two principles’ the difference principle and the liberty principle. Like John Tomasi, he endeavors to reconcile social concepts. Unlike Tomasi that tries to reconcile high liberalism with classical liberalism using market democracy, he tries to reconcile equality and liberty using justice circumstance.
Before establishing whether economic liberties should be seen as Rawlsian basic liberties or not, Rawl’s work must be examined. Rawl’s First principle of Justice states that ‘each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others’. This includes the right to own private property, the freedom of assembly and free speech, the right to vote, as well as, liberty of conscience. It also includes freedom from unlawful arrest. Nevertheless, this first principle states that the liberties not included in the list like the freedom to own some kind of property sure not basic. Thus, they are unprotected by this first principle. He emphasizes the principle of laissez-faire in this principle. The Second Principle of justice by Rawls gives the arrangement of economic inequalities. He says that; one, the more disadvantaged members of the society are to be the first beneficiaries in an economy, consistent with the just savings principle. Two, positions must be open to everyone under the principle of ‘fair equality of opportunity’ (Rawls, 34). In this principle, Rawls comes out as an egalitarian kind of person. He says that a person’s needs and wants are only justified to the extent that they (the needs) improve the situations of those around them. He adds that inequalities are not unjust. In fact, they can be just. He also says that life situations such as, where born, should not determine ones’ chances of opportunities and life chances.
Then comes in the question, Should economic liberties be seen as Rawlsian basic liberties? Rawlsian liberties are the basic liberties. John Rawls belongs to the classical thought of liberalism. Classical liberalism is associated with utilities and welfares. He is associated with the likes of Adam Smith, Hayek Friedman and Von Mises. As discussed above, John Rawls had his own principles of that supported liberal forms of capitalism. These are principles of justice. He advocated for ‘thick economic rights’ that is typical a laissez-faire kind capitalism. Rawls says that these economic rights should have the status of liberties and basic rights. A feature that stands out in Rawl’s first principle is that basic liberties can be restricted for one reason. To maintain ‘the most extensive scheme’ of basic liberties that is equal. Rawls adds that if the basic rights are protected, they must also be met. When a property right that is thick is made basic, it violates the responsibility of every citizen to pay for public services such as healthcare, unemployment insurance, public education and pensions for old age individuals. Rawls does not claim that the basic rights that are protected by the first principle. Instead, he says that the economic liberties that are basic must forbid trade restraints, collusion of prices and other ways that violate the concept of free and democratic markets. However, if the there are other regulations that the government brings up that will violate the economic rights that are basic. This is because most of these regulations are there to control the powers of the government. Monopolies and the efficiency in free markets are limited by the regulations that the government sets up.
John Rawls advocates for economic rights that are thick and capitalistic. For example, the right of citizens to own private property and accumulate wealth that is unlimited. These are preconditions that are necessary for every citizen to exercise the moral powers. He says that these rights must be protected because they portray basic liberties and rights. This is also in order to protect the basic liberties and rights of others. Concisely, Rawls advocates for the kind of socio-political environment that is necessary for every person to develop and exercise their moral powers. This, he says is significant for every individual to exercise an economic liberty that is thick. This is what is responsible for what Mr. John Rawls calls ‘self-authorship’ (Rawls, 51). This means that foe everyone that lives in a capitalistic economic system; there is freedom to exercise capitalistic entrepreneurship and occupations that use productive resources to produce more productive resources for the betterment of the whole society. In Northern Europe, people pursue occupations that are essential for their life plans. It is of utmost significance for people in this area to have a guaranteed unemployment benefits, right to strike, bargaining rights and the co-determination rights. These can only be considered when other basic liberties and rights are protected.
In essence, Rawls points to the fact that just because there are some liberties and rights that have the characteristics of being essential conditions for the pursuance of specific occupational choices and life plans, there is no reason for making these liberties and rights basic. Rawls says that for any liberty or right to be considered basic, these rights must be necessary for the exercise of moral powers and development of every citizen. When the principles of John Tomasi and John Rawls are compared, it will be noticed that the former philosopher is contented with the laissez-faire kind of democratic market economy. The latter is more concerned with basic rights and freedoms. However, it is still a question whether economic liberties can be seen as Rawlsian basic liberties. Discussed above are facts that show that Rawls did not consider his kind of liberties as economic liberties. Economic liberties limit the rights of individuals in ways that have been discussed. For instance, the capitalistic economic system that bears the freedom to exercise capitalistic entrepreneurship and occupations that use productive resources to produce more productive resources for the betterment of the whole society has no effect in the principles that he advocates for (Rawls, 84).
Many scholars have said that that is outside of Rawls’ scope to establish a fundamental difference between the moral claims of someone to enjoy the fruits of their production and the right to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s production. They add that rights are not always about the desires of someone. They are also about legitimate creations of entrepreneurs that should either enjoy them or trade them. Nevertheless, it is clear that economic rights can be in conflict with basic rights. Thus, though it may seem that the Rawlsian liberties are the same as economic liberties, it is not so.
Rawls’ thoughts have been used by a number of scholars. For example, John Tomasi uses it to have a traditionalistic kind of argument that liberty is junction point that is the key and has a historical thought that is liberal. Rawls liberalism is workable not only in a social state, but also in an expansive one. Another scholar that uses his work is Richard Titmuss who uses it to predict the productivity that has increased in nations due to rapid industrialization that was more of liberal idea than capitalistic. John Rawls’ ‘theory of Justice as fairness’ is a theory that envisions free citizens that hold basic rights that are equal and are cooperating within an economic system that is egalitarian. Theses citizens belong to the same society. He talks about a political liberalism that addresses political power use legitimately within a democratic nation or society. It shows that unity that is lasting can be a consequence despite the fact that the institutions of authority such as the government allow world opinions which are different.
In summary, Rawls says that while political and productive theory might be practiced, independence of epistemology and metaphysics must be maintained. Rawls says that the traditional order of the community or society must be preserved. His theory of validity and objectivity constructs political judgments that can only be described as constructivism. Therefore, the question as to whether economic liberties should be seen as Rawlsian basic liberties is a challenging one (Rawls, 119). According to the facts presented, it cannot. Rawls did not consider his kind of liberties as economic liberties. Economic liberties limit the rights of individuals in ways that have been discussed. For instance, the capitalistic economic system that bears the freedom to exercise capitalistic entrepreneurship and occupations that use productive resources to produce more productive resources for the betterment of the whole society has no effect in the principles that he advocates for. John Rawls advocates for economic rights that are thick and capitalistic. For example, the right of citizens to own private property and accumulate wealth that is unlimited. These are preconditions that are necessary for every citizen to exercise the moral powers. He says that these rights must be protected because they portray basic liberties and rights. This is also in order to protect the basic liberties and rights of others. Therefore, in relation to the facts presented above, it can be categorically be deduced that economic liberties cannot be seen as Rawlsian basic liberties. The two have a minute relation but lack any similarity. They are different.
Rawls, J. Political liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. Print.
Tomasi, J. Free market fairness. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. Print.