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The Four Modes of Republicanism

Mercantilism holds that a nation’s prosperity depends upon its supply of capital, represented by bullion, or precious metal, owned. The world’s total volume of trade is constant. Hence the government should be protectionist, and exports are encouraged and imports discouraged. The Physiocrats had a diffirent view. They held that the wealth of a nation ultimately derives from agriculture, and farmers, therefore, were the economy’s driving force. This also implies that the world’s volume of trade is not necessarily constant.

Classical economists, such as Ricardo and Malthus, held that the wealth of a nation is measured by the rate of its national income, instead of its treasury. Laissez-faire and free competition are encouraged as part of its economic freedom paradigm. Adam smith, himself a classical economist, criticizes the mercantilist view of government protectionism; for him it serves no purpose. Precious metals are not essential for economic success, according to him. His view was close to the Physiocrats, where success depends on human labor: that of farmers and other toilers, and where the role of the state is deemphasized.

He also claimed that, because of the nature of the market system, interest in gaining wealth for the self leads to a general enrichment of a nation’s economy. The Four Modes of Republicanism Libertarians For libertarians, republicanism’s priority is the protection of liberty, where people are free to act and to use property as they will. The government should be passive and must only act on violations of rights. Egalitarians For egalitarians, republicanism should focus primarily on equality.

Everyone must have equal respect and treatment, and should have equal chances at “getting ahead”. The government must also be generally passive. Nationalists For nationalists, republicanism is where the more ‘talented’ are able to get ahead. It requires a strong government. Moralists Moralists hold religion and morality above all other concerns. All should live in accordance to a common set of values. It also requires a strong government that intervenes is private moral conduct. They are against cultural laissez-faire.

I myself hold a combination of libertarian, egalitarian, and nationalist paradigms, where a person initially has as much chances of ‘getting ahead’ as anyone else, but where talent and effort pay off well, and where there is freedom limited only by the rights of others. The Myth of the French Revolution Primarily, the myth is in the speedy success of the French revolution, in which man is seen as having full control of his fate. The changes initiated by the revolution would actually take centuries to fully manifest.

Specifically, for example, part of this myth is the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which spoke in grand terms of universal interest, with no specific reference to any laws or conditions in France. It provided a framework for future revolutions. As a myth, the French revolution was more effective in making changes happen, and this myth inspired other revolutions. ‘Liberty, Fraternity, Equality’ Liberty here means freedom to do anything, as long as it does not impinge upon other persons’ rights.

Fraternity is brotherhood, and implies a “one for all, all for one” precept, possibly with some communist overtones. Equality means equal opportunities, where unquestionable power is held by no one, and also perhaps where property should be nonexistent, all things shared by everyone. One contradiction here is that an imposition of Fraternity upon a people clashes with the idea of Liberty, because Fraternity implies an obligation towards the common good, whereas, for utter Liberty, one should have the freedom to be indifferent to the needs of the people.

Similarly, Equality contradicts Liberty, in that Equality is necessarily a limiting factor on what an individual can do, and impinges upon his Liberty. Popular Sovereignty Popular sovereignty is the ‘sovereignty of a nation,’ a rule of, by, and for the people. Rousseau, a republican, was responsible for a large part of this; he conceptualized a separation of sovereignty and government, where sovereignty is in the hands of the people, and where government is assigned by the people to individuals of their choosing.

The collective will of the people is what will form the basis of the republic, and the people will live under laws that they create themselves. Jacobin totalitarian dictatorship The Jacobins were a radical faction who played a significant part in the revolution. They wanted an egalitarian society, and they used drastic actions, such as systematic terror, to obtain their version of a republic. Industrialization

Industrialization led to a significant alteration in society Goods were cheaper, and produced much faster. The quality of life improved for many. But slowly, more and more were forced to work at factories. This meant that one no longer had control of his daily routine, as work schedules were mandatory. Individuality slowly became lost in this setting, and each worker became only a small, replaceable part of a great, indifferent engine. Money became the measure of all things, even a person’s worth.

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