Global Political Legitimacy and the Structural Power of Capital

Journal of Social Philosophy 54 (4):490-509 (2023)
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Abstract

In contemporary democracies, global capitalism exerts a significant influence over how state power is exercised, raising questions about where political power resides in global politics. This question is important, since our specific considerations about justifiability of political power, i.e. political legitimacy, depend on how we characterize political power at the global level. As a partial answer to this question, I argue that our notion of global political legitimacy should be reoriented to include the structural power of the Transnational Capitalist Class as its subject matter. Structural power is a social relation in which the institutional context makes some agents comply with others’ preferences regardless of actors’ intentional efforts to bring about such outcomes. Even when global business elites do not intentionally exercise power to obtain political control of global governance, their structural power has recognizable effects that partly enforce the world order. To advance my claim, I utilize the radical realists’ argument that the notion of legitimacy is applicable to a broader range of social practices that are beyond dyadic power relations, i.e. rulers intentionally exercising power over subjects.

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Ugur Aytac
Utrecht University

Citations of this work

Political legitimacy.Fabienne Peter - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Metaethics as Dead Politics? On Political Normativity and Justification.Ben Cross - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-17.
Realism against delegitimation.Dominik Austrup - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Responsibility for Justice.Iris Marion Young - 2011 - , US: Oxford University Press USA.
Philosophy and Real Politics.Raymond Geuss - 2008 - Princeton University Press.
Being realistic and demanding the impossible.Enzo Rossi - 2019 - Constellations 26 (4):638-652.
Justice, Gender and the Family.Susan Moller Okin - 1989 - Hypatia 8 (1):209-214.

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