Some Nussbaum

Sam Pawlett rsp at
Tue Nov 23 00:27:33 PST 1999

Michael Pollak wrote:

> A man who thought slavery was natural was not a bourgeois liberal.

Yeah, but a lot of liberals think capitalism is natural and wage labor ,I would argue, is a kind of slavery at least in some countries. Liberals these days spend a lot more time defending the 'free' market against socialists ("a market economy not a market society" and all that, as if the economy and society are clearly demarcated/seperate in capitalism) than they do defending egalitarianism and positive freedom against conservatives.

And his
> central idea here, the idea that the production of the necessary social
> product means some people must be without leisure, is only necessarily
> true in a society with a low level of productivity.

Depends on the class structure and how production is organized in a particular society. There will probably always be economic constraints on equality. Assuming everyone wanted to, I don't think it is possible for everyone on earth to live like Donald Trump or some Arab sultan. Not ecologically sound and just not enough wealth and resources (I know James H could come up with some good arguments to the contrary.)

I'm not sure it's possible to overcome the division of labor in an industrial society to such an extent where everyone can live a life of leisure. Someone is going to have to collect the garbage, work in factories, clean sewers etc. I'd just hope that the time one would have to spend doing it is minimized. There would have to be high material incentives for the shitty jobs too.

> The transposition of these ideas into a modern context makes Nussbaum look
> a lot less than a liberal as well.

Well she has taken _some_ of Aristotle's ideas and made them into a modern liberal theory.

Sam Pawlett

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