The Invention of Market Freedom
How did the value of freedom become so closely associated with the institution of the market? Why did the idea of market freedom hold so little appeal before the modern period and how can we explain its rise to dominance? In The Invention of Market Freedom, Eric MacGilvray addresses these questions by contrasting the market conception of freedom with the republican view that it displaced. After analyzing the ethical core and exploring the conceptual complexity of republican freedom, MacGilvray shows how this way of thinking was confronted with, altered in response to, and finally overcome by the rise of modern market societies. By learning to see market freedom as something that was invented, we can become more alert to the ways in which the appeal to freedom shapes and distorts our thinking about politics.
- Electronic book text
- 02 Sep 2012
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
Table of contents
1. Republicanism and the market; 2. Republican freedom; 3. Liberalism before liberty; 4. The rise of commerce; 5. The market synthesis; 6. Republicanism in eclipse; 7. Markets and the new republicanism.
"In The Invention of Market Freedom, Eric MacGilvray skillfully grapples with the republican tradition, deploying an innovative problem centered approach to make sense of its ambiguity and diversity. MacGilvray locates the origins of market freedom - a concept at the center of a rival ideological tradition - in the 18th century synthesis of commercial republicanism and the natural juristic tradition. Carefully tracing the processes by which market freedom became dominant after its invention, MacGilvray underscores the ideological elements at stake in thinking about freedom - republican or market. Rather than view the contemporary revival of republican freedom as an unproblematic alternative to market freedom, MacGilvray explores the spheres and applications of both conceptions, emphasizing their moral and political costs and benefits. Clearly argued and well written, this historically and normatively rich work is of wide appeal."-Daniel Kapust, University of Georgia "This extraordinary, wide-ranging book builds on the republican turn in political theory to explain and contextualize the rise of the liberal, market-oriented account of freedom. MacGilvray deftly traces out the complex relationships among virtue, liberty, and status in early modern republican thought; and he shows that republican thought evolved in divergent directions in the face of modern commerce. The intellectual history of civic republicanism to commercial liberalism is important in its own right, and helps situate much that has been learned in the last generation about republicanism and natural jurisprudence. The analytical and normative argument that arises out of that history clears away much confusion about concepts of liberty, and offers an important challenge to the market liberal theory of freedom."-Jacob T. Levy, McGill University "This is an important and topical book. MacGilvray ingeniously revives the controversy over positive/negative liberty for contemporary debates. How did freedom as collective, political self-determination become supplanted by the notion of the individual pursuit of autonomous ends in the market, and what does this mean for us? This is a book that must be read by anyone interested in contemporary liberalism and republicanism, and by anyone concerned with the roles that government and markets should play in the realization of liberty, personal and political, today."-John P. McCormick, University of Chicago, author of Machiavellian Democracy "Combining intellectual history and theoretical analysis, this lively study is essential reading for anyone, philosopher or economist, legal theorist or political scientist, who wants to think about markets. More than that, indeed, it is the sort of reading that would make anyone want to think about markets."-Philip Pettit, L.S.Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values, Princeton University "Highly recommended." - E. J. Eisenach, emeritus, University of Tulsa, Choice "The Invention of Market Freedom is an informative guide through a great deal of intellectual history" -Stephen Ellis, University of Oklahoma, The Review of Politics