Recognizing the Problem of Solidarity: Immigration in the Post-Welfare State
11 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2010
Date Written: April 12, 2010
In this contribution, I approach the dilemma of failing social solidarity and the place of immigration in the neo-liberal order that dominates us now and will continue to dominate us for the foreseeable future. By "liberal," I mean to invoke both of the very different meanings of the term: the technical and internationally understood meaning, namely market-driven, individualistic, state-minimizing, classical liberalism, and the colloquial and (technically incorrect) use of that term in American politics, namely to indicate a simultaneous commitment to a libertarian and democratic vision of individual rights and sympathy for and support of government action to mitigate the inegalitarianism of market society and especially discrimination against disfavored groups. The liberal market, the free market, including the labor market is profoundly undemocratic insofar as it operates independently of and in spite of the wishes of political democracy. The people’s sovereignty stands incapacitated in the face of the free market, particularly when - as so often in our discussion of immigration - the “market” is naturalized and attains the status of something obvious, indisputable and morally beyond reproach, or at least beyond reach. Without the safe harbor of a strong welfare state, immigration reform is a risky proposition.
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