The term ‘democracy’ can have two kinds of meaning. It can refer to ways of making effective claims for a more just and egalitarian common world. Or it can refer to a mode of governing populations that employs popular consent as a means of limiting claims for greater equality and justice by dividing up the common world. Such limits are formed by acknowledging certain areas as matters of public concern subject to popular decision while establishing other fields to he administered under alternative methods of control. For example, governmental practice can demarcate a private sphere governed by rules of property, a natural world governed by laws of nature, or markets governed by principles of economics. Democratic struggles become a battle over the distribution of issues, attempting to establish as matters of public concern questions that others claim as private (such as the level of wages paid by employers), as belonging to nature (such as the exhaustion of natural resources or the composition of gases in the atmosphere), or as ruled by laws of the market (such as financial speculation). In the mid-twentieth century, this logic of distribution began to designate a large new field of government whose rules set limits to alternative political claims: the field that became known as the economy.
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Saturday, May 19, 2012
From Carbon Democracy by Timothy Mitchell:
Posted by Sandwichman at 6:21 PM