‘Hegel on Political Representation: Laborers, Corporations, and the Monarch’.

The Owl of Minerva 25 (1):111-116 (1993)
Hegel holds that members of a society can only be fully free and autonomous if they enjoy political representation. Hegel grants political representation to the landed aristocracy and to members of corporations. Causal day laborers fall outside both of these groups. Consequently, they lack political representation in Hegel’s state; hence they lack the political resources for full freedom and autonomy. This is a serious problem, but not so serious as Hegel’s marxist critics maintain. I propose two solutions based on Hegel’s institutional principles. First, day laborers typically work in the same industry, and often in the same factory. Once that regularity is established, such labor is no longer casual and it merits recognition through labor contracts and (ultimately) through corporate membership. Second, those workers who remain casual laborers deserve special attention from a government-sponsored agency which organizes and regularizes their training and job placement, and which represents their interests in Hegel’s Estates Assembly. I further suggest that Keynes’s public works strategy for moderating unemployment fits perfectly into Hegel’s institutional framework, and I show (contra Ilting) that Hegel’s exposition of the Crown is properly ordered. The Monarch is the organizational apex of Hegel’s government, but the Estates Assembly culminates Hegel’s program for achieving the political autonomy of individuals.
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DOI 10.5840/owl199325135
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