Property and Political Community: Democracy, Oligarchy, and the Case of Ukraine

47 George Washington International Law Review 825 (2015)

68 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2014 Last revised: 1 Jun 2017

See all articles by Monica E. Eppinger

Monica E. Eppinger

Saint Louis University - School of Law; Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Date Written: November 17, 2014

Abstract

Widening wealth gaps in Western democracies have brought new scrutiny to relationships between property and political community. For the prior quarter century, Western legal scholars have urged privatization around the globe as the key to a virtuous circle of "market democracy." This Article traces origins of the market democracy consensus to ideas that identify positive features of political community -- liberty, wealth, or democracy -- with private property ownership. Fieldwork in Ukraine, where Western privatization advice was followed at a time of founding a new polity, provides data to compare predictions with outcomes. Two unexpected figures -- the Oligarch and the Precariat -- emerge from the newly privatized countryside. Research into the micropractices of privatization counterintuitively exposes private property as potentially working against democracy. The findings from this research are that oligarchy is a possibility, distribution is a problem, and relationships between property and democracy are not always mutually felicitous.

Keywords: property, oligarchy, democracy, Ukraine, precariat, Libertarian, Liberal, Jeffersonian, political community, anthropology of law

Suggested Citation

Eppinger, Monica E., Property and Political Community: Democracy, Oligarchy, and the Case of Ukraine (November 17, 2014). 47 George Washington International Law Review 825 (2015), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2526308 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2526308

Monica E. Eppinger (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

Department of Sociology and Anthropology ( email )

220 North Grand Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63103
United States

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