Abstract

Abstract:

Scholars as diverse as E. P. Thompson and Thomas Piketty posit a clear break between pre-industrial, status-based economies and modern, contract-based capitalism. This essay revisits this standard account of the transition from feudalism to capitalism by focusing on a central and yet rarely discussed tenet of economic justice in early modern Europe: the need to balance individuals’ contractual freedom with the privileges assigned to different groups in any hierarchical society of status. In so doing, it reconstructs the pre-history of contemporary debates about the tension between consent and identity-bound inequality in liberal economies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2151-4372
Print ISSN
2151-4364
Pages
pp. 193-201
Launched on MUSE
2020-07-28
Open Access
No
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