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Meeting 22b – Peer Review Circle Practical Philosophy
7 May 2018 @ 17:30 - 19:30
We will meet to discuss a paper by Uğur Aytaç, entitled ‘Transnational Capitalism and Depoliticization of the Realm of Economy: A Realist Approach to Legitimacy Deficit in Advanced Capitalist Societies’. Please contact Jojanneke Vanderveen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Huub Brouwer (email@example.com) to receive the paper and location details. If you cannot attend but would like to be put on the mailing list of the circle, please contact Jojanneke.
NB: this is the actual 22nd meeting of the circle–hence the 22b. We discovered that we miscounted before and do not want to inflate the number of meetings.
Although the recent populist backlash against globalization is often assumed to reveal the dynamics of irrationality in politics, my aim is to question whether it is possible to reconstruct the background attitudes of these anti-globalization sentiments as a normative indicator of a legitimacy deficit. In this dissertation, I build a realist account of legitimacy in the context of transnational capitalism. Given the realist position which opposes a strict distinction between normative and empirical legitimacy, I attempt to revise the notion of legitimacy in relation to actual individuals’ beliefs and attitudes. My claim is that there are at least two different dimensions of legitimacy which are not reducible to each other. Coercive disputes over the boundaries of the political is a dimension of the legitimacy problem which is not reducible to the other legitimacy-related questions such as “what is the source of legitimate authority that determines who is going to rule?” or “what are the circumstances under which a state legitimately rule over people in a given conception of the political?” By coercive disputes over the boundaries of the political, I mean situations in which the ruling group imposes its own understanding of the boundaries of the political in spite of the widely controversial status of the very same understanding. This kind of imposition indicates the idea that power holders unilaterally shapes policies on the assumption that only some (or all for the cases like totalitarianism) courses of action are conceivable as the exercise of political power. My second main claim is that transnational capitalism implies a legitimacy deficit because the boundaries of the political drawn by the system of transnational capitalism is incompatible with the public expectations regarding the proper domain of state power. Relatively unpopular features of transnational capitalism such as deindustrialization, full trade liberalization and deregulation of labor markets to attract capital are regarded as neutral outcomes of effective and scientific economic management by contemporary political elites. Depoliticization of these economic categories draws the boundaries of the political in a way that the opposite policy choices are disposed to be considered as not only inappropriate domain of politics but also demands that are at odds with the requirements of modern social science. Consequently, democratic decision-making is constrained to an artificially narrowed conception of the boundaries of the political without an acceptable justification that might make sense in relation to the normative beliefs of angry masses. I argue that depoliticized categories are indeed the products of the exercise of state power. Radical alterations in the balance of power between politics vis-à-vis transnational capital movements constitutes an underlying coercive mechanism which is at odds with the requirements of democratic legitimacy.
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