Caring for property: Comments on Susan Smith's "States, markets and an ethic of care"

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Abstract

This paper pursues some themes raised by Susan Smith's article, "States, markets, and an ethics of care". Specifically, I consider the way that the complex structure of property rights - a structure that includes both the right to control and manipulate the object owned as well as to exchange it with others - makes the question of where exactly markets operate complex. I also trace out some lines of thought in Immanuel Kant's views on property to help show that the question of the separation between state institutions and market activity is often misconceived. The state, as Kant's views show, both structures and protects property rights bundles of its citizens, and hence the line between state and market is not a bright one. Rather, the question will always be how state policies structure ownership and markets not whether they do. These lines of analysis are used to further bolster Professor Smith's claims about the precarious and sometimes dangerous incursions of market thinking into areas that more often are guided by an ethic of care, and the losses that are observable in such incursions, especially regarding social spaces governed by housing policies of the sort she examines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalPolitical Geography
Volume24
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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