Hegel Bulletin 33 (2):36-53 (2012)

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Abstract
The financial crisis that currently besets Europe not only disturbs the life of many citizens, but also affects our economic, political and philosophical theories. Clearly, many of the contributing causes, such as the wide availability of cheap credit after the introduction of the euro, are contingent. Analyses that aim to move beyond such contingent factors tend to highlight the disruptive effects of the neoliberal conception of the market that has become increasingly dominant over the last few decades. Yet while the financial sector has received most of the blame, and rightly so, few commentators seem willing to take into account the role played by representative democracy in its current form. Even if it is granted that actual democratic policies fall short of what they ought to achieve, contemporary representative democracy itself is seldom regarded as part of the tangle it was supposed to resolve. David Merill touches upon this issue when he notes, in the preceding issue of thisBulletin, that ‘the economic dilemmas faced today may be ultimately the consequences of state failure’. The state that has failed to regulate the markets is described as ‘weak’ and ‘subject to external blows, blind to its ends, merely one actor among many in the events of the day’. Yet Merill does not seem to consider this weakness to be an inherent feature of the constellation of which contemporary democracy is a part.There are, of course, excellent reasons not to take this path. First, representative democracy has in many cases proved to be the best way of preventing small elites from acquiring political power, and many of the impressive social and political achievements of the twentieth century are the result of democratic processes.
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DOI 10.1017/s0263523200000495
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References found in this work BETA

Critique of Pure Reason.Wolfgang Schwarz - 1966 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 26 (3):449-451.
Hegel: A Biography.Paul Redding - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):470-473.
Hegel’s Critique of Liberalism: Rights in Context.Steven B. SMITH - 1989 - Studies in Soviet Thought 41 (1):79-82.

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