Neoliberalism and Morality

Alexander Somek

in Engineering Equality

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693375
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729737 | DOI:
Neoliberalism and Morality

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The shift of focus from ‘hard’ to ‘soft’ measures or, more accurately put, from legality to strategies of behavioural attunement is congruent with principles that govern the internal constitution of anti-discrimination law. It bespeaks the utmost relevance of morality. This relevance is, in turn, part of the normative deficiency of anti-discrimination law. The significance of morality does not emerge from an ideological vacuum. It is deeply associated with the predominance of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is the belief that the market is not merely one social sphere amongst others (which needs to be sheltered against state intrusion), but rather the universal law governing our social existence. Anti-discrimination law is supposed to be market-correcting by eliminating arbitrary factors that might influence individual choices. In contrast to traditional market-correcting social policy, it is not about creating solidarity among members of a collective or facilitating interactions between and among groups that represent the interests of their members.

Keywords: Neoliberalism; morality; social policy; redistribution; de-commodification; individual responsibility; market mentality

Chapter.  5486 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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