Martin McIvor
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Republicanism, socialism and the renewal of the left
in In search of social democracy

During the nineteenth century, republican political ideas about the forms of law and government were gradually displaced on the European left by a concern with economic relationships and ultimately a commitment to some notion of collective ownership of the means of production. Stuart White has developed a fascinating line of work that links the political aspirations of republicanism and the 'property-owning democracy' with the real-world experiments in 'citizens' income', 'asset-based welfare' and 'stakeholderism' being developed by centre-left governments around the world today. Domination is a predicament of dependence upon the will of another, while true liberty consists in self-government. Republican ideas seem to promise a route back to the values of freedom and democracy that the twentieth-century left seemed too often to lose touch with, at the same time as offering a viable and sophisticated defence of political activism and social commitment that could prove newly resonant for contemporary audiences.

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In search of social democracy

Responses to crisis and modernisation


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