Par Bru Laín, Université de Barcelone

This paper was discussed at the Mancept Workshop in Political Theory, 4th–6th September 2013, University of Manchester. This version just includes some linguistic and reference nuances.

Abstract: This paper explains the role that material independence plays in articulating the republican notion of freedom. As it suggests, a contemporary conception of this freedom would require two major policies. On the one hand, the introduction of some floors to assure individuals the minimum material means in order for them to achieve a protected social status. On the other, to impose a sort of ceilings restricting the excessive wealth accumulation by few private hands that potentiate multiple relations of domination and civil dependence jeopardizing the sphere of the free civil society. The paper defends that for the republican notion of freedom as non-domination both the guarantee of material independence and the limitation of accumulation, are necessary conditions –although not sufficient– to articulate an effective and free civil society. In doing so, the work of Thomas Jefferson and Maximilien Robespierre may be a powerful toolkit to re-think both institutional requirements. The paper concludes arguing that a proposal such as the Basic Income would properly endorse this republican notion of freedom as non-domination for our contemporary societies.

Keywords: Freedom, Republicanism, Material Independence, Jefferson, Robespierre, Basic Income.

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