On the Renting of Persons: The Neo-Abolitionist Case Against Today's Peculiar Institution
David Ellerman ()
Additional contact information
David Ellerman: University of California at Riverside, USA
Economic Thought, 2015, vol. 4, issue 1, pages 1-20
Liberal thought (in the sense of classical liberalism) is based on the juxtaposition of consent to coercion. Autocracy and slavery were seen as based on coercion whereas today's political democracy and economic 'employment system' are based on consent to voluntary contracts. This paper retrieves an almost forgotten dark side of contractarian thought that based autocracy and slavery on explicit or implicit voluntary contracts. To answer these 'best case' arguments for slavery and autocracy, the democratic and abolitionist movements forged arguments not simply in favour of consent, but arguments that voluntary contracts to legally alienate aspects of personhood were invalid 'even with consent' – which made the underlying rights inherently inalienable. Once understood, those arguments have the perhaps 'unintended consequence' of making the neo-abolitionist case for ruling out today's self-rental contract, the employer-employee contract. The paper has to also retrieve these inalienable rights arguments since they have been largely lost on the Left, not to mention in liberal thought.
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
http://et.worldeconomicsassociation.org/papers/on- ... eculiar-institution/ (text/html)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: http://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:wea:econth:v:4:y:2015:i:1:p:1-20
Access Statistics for this article
Economic Thought is currently edited by Kyla Rushman
More articles in Economic Thought from World Economics Association Contact information at EDIRC.
Series data maintained by Jake McMurchie ().