1st Edition

Self-Realization and Justice A Liberal-Perfectionist Defense of the Right to Freedom from Employment

By Julia Maskivker Copyright 2012
    170 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    In this book, Maskivker argues that there ought to be a right not to participate in the paid economy in a new way; not by appealing to notions of fairness to competing conceptions of the good, but rather to a contentious (but defensible) normative ideal, namely, self-realization. In so doing, she joins a venerable tradition in ethical thought, initiated by Aristotle and developed in the work of important eighteenth and nineteenth century thinkers including Smith, Hume, and Marx.The book engages on-going debates (in both philosophical and real world political and social policy circles) about the provision of basic income grants, necessary to make the possibility of self-realization real for all. Traditional defenses of unconditional welfare benefits emphasize ideals of state neutrality when they claim that society should not discriminate against preferences for leisure in favor of preferences for work. According to these views, the state ought not to interfere with people’s choices about what constitutes the "good life." In contradistinction, Maskivker offers an innovative argument in defense of a particular ideal of the "good life," namely, life-goals directed at the pursuit of self-realization. However, her understanding of self-realization appeals to modern and contemporary values of freedom and pluralism. In a refreshingly new light, the book strikes a balance between fascinating debates on the conditions of human flourishing on the one hand, and heated discussions about the Welfare State on the other.

    1. Introduction: Self-Realization and Distributive Justice: When the Market is not Sufficient for Equal Access  2. From Aristotle to Modern Life: Self-Realization, Value, and Human Needs  3. The Justice of Free-Riding: A Response to the Exploitation Objection Against the Option to Opt out of Work  4. What Type of Right is the Right to Freedom from Employment?  5. The Metric of Justice and Self-Realization Opportunities  6. Conclusion: The Meaningful Leisure Ideal and Contemporary Society


    Julia Maskivker is Assistant Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at Rollins College, United States. Recent publications include: "Discursive Practices in Ancient Athens: A Habermasian Approach" (The European Legacy, 15:7, 2010), "A Non-Cosmopolitan Case for Sovereign Debt Relief" (The Journal of Global Ethics, 6:1, 2011) "Work-Lovers, Freedom, and Basic Income" (Contemporary Political Theory 10: 1, 2011) "Employment as a Limitation on Self-Ownership" (The Human Rights Review, 12:1 2011, forthcoming, available online) and "An Alternative Reply to the Free-Rider Objection Against Unconditional Citizenship Grants" in Ethics and Public Policy, edited by Jonathan Boston. Canberra: The Australian National University Press, 2011.