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Raymond Plant Professor of Law and Philosophy King’s College London University and Vincent Wright Professor at Sciences Po. General Description This course will focus on the political, legal and social philosophy of Neo liberalism as well as the political economy associated with it. We shall be concerned with the general character of the state as understood by the neo liberals –its scope and its limits. In doing so we shall need to consider in detail neo liberal views of freedom and liberty; the critique of the idea of social justice; the understanding of the nature and scope of rights within a neo liberal state; neo liberal views about community and civil society; the view taken of interest groups and the role of bureaucracy; and the place that the law plays in respect of all of these things. In the context of the political economy of neo liberalism we shall look at the role of property and contract; the neo liberal understanding of the procedural nature of justice; the idea of crowding out of resources by the public sector and the public choice critique of state institutions and services. We shall then move on to consider the response of social democrats to these aspects of neo liberalism. The neo liberals have made the issue of the nature of the rule of law central to their critique of social democracy. We shall see how on their view of the rule of law we can understand the proper relationship between freedom, justice and rights –a relationship which cannot be sustained in a social democratic state. My aim will be to examine these issues and arguments at stake between neo liberals and social democrats in detail. In the first part of the course I will try to set out the neo liberal case as rigorously as I can. In the second part I will look at the social democratic critique and assess its power. The pattern of the Lectures will be as follows: Lecture 1 Overview of the course and an account of the general character of the neo liberal state. Lecture 2 Negative liberty in the neo liberal state Lecture 3 The neo liberal critique of the idea of social justice. Lecture 4 The nature and scope of rights within neo liberalism. Lecture 5 Civil society and community within neo liberalism Lecture 6 Bureaucracy and interest groups – the public choice critique. Lecture 7 The political economy of neo liberalism Lecture 8 The social democratic critique of negative liberty. Lecture 9 The justification of social justice Lecture10 The case for social and economic rights.
Lecture 11 Civil society, community and poverty – a social democratic perspective. Lecture 12 Bureaucracy and an ethic of public service: myth or reality ? Lecture 13 Can the political economy of neo liberalism be coherent ? Lecture 14 Course retrospect and a discussion of remaining questions. Reading Materials The main neo liberal thinkers on whose work I shall draw are: F.A. Hayek The Constitution of Liberty and Law Legislation and Liberty. R. Nozick Anarchy State and Utopia. J. Buchanan The Limits of Liberty G. Tullock and J. Buchanan The Calculus of Consent. W. Niskanen Bureaucracy Servant or Master ? As far as the social democratic perspective is concerned I shall draw upon: J. Rawls A Theory of Justice. K. Hoover and R. Plant Conservative Capitalism in The USA and Great Britain R. Plant Modern Political Thought A.Gamble Hayek: The Iron Cage of Liberty
For the history of neo liberalism in France reference can usefully be made to: Francois Denord Neo –Liberalisme: Version Francaise For an examination of some of the themes to be discussed in the course reference can be made to : Pierre Zaoui Le Liberalisme: est- il une sauvagerie ?