From Workers to Migrants, from Distributive Justice to Inclusion: Exploring the Changing Social-Democratic Imagination

18 European Law Journal, pp. 711-726, 2012

27 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2012

See all articles by Alexander Somek

Alexander Somek

University of Iowa - College of Law

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Date Written: November 7, 2012

Abstract

There is little awareness that from the perspective of distributive justice a transnational market society exercises a justice-disabling effect. No longer is society perceived to be a system of co-operation, the net product of which is to be distributed among all participants fairly, but rather viewed as a composite of uncoordinated templates for the individual pursuit of opportunities. A society of this type does no longer regard a centralized political effort at re-distribution as its essential objective; rather, its most fundamental principle concerns equal access to opportunities without regard to nationality or local preference. Such a concern with inclusion appears to be at odds with the received vision of distributive justice whose realization presupposes bounded solidarity and, hence, closure.

The paper explores how this shift is expressed in a neoliberal reconfiguration of the subject of progressive concern. For various reasons, the position that used to be occupied within the social democratic imagination by exploited industrial labour is now occupied by those who wish to benefit from economic mobility, paradigmatically migrants. As a result, aims such as collective empowerment and creating a tight social safety net appear to be strangely out of date. They have been replaced with the ideal of morally purified (i.e., non-discriminatory) markets and “deep” social diversity.

Keywords: European Union, Solidarity, Freedom of Movement, Federalism, Friedrich August von Hayek

Suggested Citation

Somek, Alexander, From Workers to Migrants, from Distributive Justice to Inclusion: Exploring the Changing Social-Democratic Imagination (November 7, 2012). 18 European Law Journal, pp. 711-726, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2172475

Alexander Somek (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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