Legitimacy and globalization

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (3):313-323 (2011)
Abstract
The financial crisis which recently occurred is the epiphenomenon of a structural crisis of advanced capitalism. Although it referred to a very different context the diagnosis made by Habermas in his work Legitimationsprobleme des Spätkapitalismus , published in 1973, remains a very useful key in order to understand the irreducibility of social policy and the way the post-Fordist capitalism assumes the mediation between the economic and the social sphere — that is, how it deals with both the deficit of rationality and the deficit of legitimacy. Instead of being the political expression of social relations the neo-liberal system decouples labour and capital and, governed by financial markets, disconnects the social and the political rights and undermines the possibility of a true foundation of citizenship. In other words, the ‘refeudalization’ Habermas had reported as early as in Strukturwandel der Offentlichkeit (1962) remains quite topical
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