KeywordsInequality and Stratification
History of Philosophy
Social Welfare Law
Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics
Law and Economics
Law and Society
Politics and Social Change
Critique of Justice
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Law and Society
Human Rights Law
Law and Economics
Work, Economy and Organizations
Labor Theory of Property
Public Law and Legal Theory
Ethics and Political Philosophy
Human Rights Law
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AbstractAbstract: Marx thinks that capitalism is exploitative, and that is a major basis for his objections to it. But what's wrong with exploitation, as Marx sees it? (The paper is exegetical in character: my object is to understand what Marx believed,) The received view, held by Norman Geras, G.A. Cohen, and others, is that Marx thought that capitalism was unjust, because in the crudest sense, capitalists robbed labor of property that was rightfully the workers' because the workers and not the capitalists produced it. This view depends on a Labor Theory of Property (LTP), that property rights are based ultimately on having produced something. (A view oddly enough shared with the libertarian right, though the LTP is better support for egalitarian or socialist views; see my From Libertarianism to Egalitarianism, 18 SOCIAL THEORY & PRAC. 259-288 (1992).) I show that the idea that Marx's objection to exploitation is based on injustice or LTP-grounded theft is mistaken. Marx's real objection to exploitation is based on unfreedom, that capitalist relations of production, he thinks, unnecessarily limit human freedom. In the first place Marx is quite clear that he vehemently rejects the concepts of justice, fairness, or rights as bourgeois ideology. It is true that he uses the language of "theft" on occasion, but either a literal interpretation of that language must be abandoned, or his consistent, life-long objection to rights- and justice talk must be given up. Second, the structure, indeed the point, of his analysis of the laws of motion of capitalism, is that capitalists make profits through exploitation of labor _without cheating_, by the normal "legitimate" operation of the system. Other arguments make the same point. The unfreedom or force-based view, though not necessarily my specific arguments advocated so far is shared by a minority of other writers, such as Nancy Holmstrom and Richard Arneson. What my paper offers that is novel, part from arguments for the foregoing that are different and better than those found elsewhere (although Holmstrom and Arneson are excellent), is an account of in detail of what Marx regards as the real problem with exploitation. I analyze Marx's objection that capitalist exploitation causes unnecessary unfreedom by distinguishing and spelling out three different kinds of freedom that he invokes: classic negative freedom, or noninterference; positive freedom, understood as control over or access to the resources enabling one to exercise one's negative freedom; and "real" freedom, as he puts it, the ability to "give the law to oneself," to regulate one's own activities under rules chosen by oneself, to develop one's capacities by autonomous choice. This puts Marx in the tradition going back through Hegel and Kant to Rousseau, the first express advocate of this idea. The opposite of real freedom, the unfreedom due to lack of autonomy, is alienation. I conclude by stating that I think that justice-based objections to exploitation that avoid Marx's objections to the concept are possible. I do not attempt to spell these out here. I take up that task in my subsequently published paper Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, and Justice, 17 LEGAL STUD. 128-168 (1997). The present paper is related to and partly overlaps with my paper In Defense of Exploitation, 11 ECON. & PHIL. 49-81 (1995), a critique of John Roemer's equality based account of the nature of exploitation and its wrongness. The research and writing of this paper was financially supported by the philosophy department of The Ohio State University.
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Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, and JusticeSchwartz, Justin (SelectedWorks, 1997-01-01)THIS PAPER IS THE CO-WINNER OF THE FRED BERGER PRIZE IN PHILOSOPHY OF LAW FOR THE 1999 AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE BEST PUBLISHED PAPER IN THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS. The conflict between liberal legal theory and critical legal studies (CLS) is often framed as a matter of whether there is a theory of justice that the law should embody which all rational people could or must accept. In a divided society, the CLS critique of this view is overwhelming: there is no such justice that can command universal assent. But the liberal critique of CLS, that it degenerates into an unpalatable moral relativism on which there is no non-arbitrary basis between a justice that underwrites forms of domination such as slavery and a justice that condemns such forms of domination is equally powerful and compelling. I show trhat there is a way to harmonize both views that is subject to empirical test. First I show that the most widely accepted and influential formulation of liberal justice, John Rawls' Justice as Fairness, in. e.g, A Theory of Justice, cannot avoid the relativistic challenge because it would not be accepted, as a matter of sociological fact, by real people in a divided society once the "veil of Ignorance" is removed and real people step out from the Original Position. To put it differently, different reflective equilibria are inevitable in a divided society. Given the weight that Rawls properly puts on the realizability of a conception of justice and its stability in practice, this is a fatal objection. There can be no divided society that is "well ordered" in Rawls' sense, governed by a shared conception of justice and known to be so governed. I then turn to the most powerful statement of the CLS view, Milton's Fisk's relativistic account in The State and Justice. For Fisk, justice is a compromise between what the dominant groups can compel and what the the subordinate groups will acquiesce to., There is no one such compromise in any given situation, so the account is in that sense relativistic, but more deeply, it is relativistic in that it offers no non-arbitrary, non-question begging way to choose between the official justice of, e.g., a slaveholding society and and the radical justice of the slaves, which has no place for slaveholders as a group or slavery as an institution.All that Fisk can offer is an arbitrary existential choice: I'm with the slaves. (Or the slaveowners.) Most of us would find this disconcerting or even unacceptable. I show that Fisk's general sort of account can be modified to allow for an non-arbitrary choice. Given general facts about human nature, societies based on domination will produce resistance that over the long run will diminish or eliminate various forms of domination. Through a sort of ratchet effect, rights won will be hard if not impossible to reverse. Societies embodying forms of domination can therefore be compared on dimensions of stability: the more domination, the more resistance, and the less stability. Such societies are inferior on the dimension of justice to more emancipatory society on the terms of both kinds of justice, official and radical. This is not question begging because regimes of domination incorporate stability no less than more emancipatory social orders. The choice between official justice embodying domination and radical justice that does not is not arbitrary because it is based on a shared commitment to long term stability. This offers an empirical test of which social orders are more justice, and a prediction that over time, domination will tend to decrease.
Cahiers de Cite Libre: Cite Libre, Numero 3, Volume 20, Hiver, 1970Philippe Bergeron (1970-01-01)Philippe Bergeron, Cahiers de Cite Libre: Pour le mariage du Pretre: Le couple Sacerdotale , (Ottawa/Montreal: Editions du Jour Inc., 1970).