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In 2008, as Lehman's fall confirmed a systemic crisis arguably unparalleled since the 1930s, many expected the demise of neoliberalism as the reigning economic philosophy. Yet four years on, critics are still struggling to present the alternatives. New citizen movements, such as the indignados in Spain and Occupy, have articulated a sense that there has to be an alternative. They are, in part, protests at a poverty of political imagination.
What about a republican economy? The past two decades has seen a major revival of interest in something (or some things) called republicanism. Political theorists have begun to use republican theory to address questions about the economic order. For the economy is not an end in itself. It must serve the civic purposes of a democratic society. In this series, we will explore how republicanism – and republicans – might help achieve this.
We will ask what it means, and what is needed, for the economy:
- - to respect and protect the freedom of the citizen;
- - to uphold our standing as civic equals;
- - to make effective our status as active participants in a popular sovereignty;
- - to serve a genuinely common good.
Can the rich and varied resources of republican thought help us to think beyond the dominant neoliberal model? In the coming year we will be asking this question, and inviting you to join us in our attempt to find the answers.
This series is edited by Stuart White of Oxford University and co-hosted by openDemocracy's British section 'OurKingdom' and 'Politics in Spires', a blog sponsored by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
Photo used in logo: Marcello Vicidomini / Flickr
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