IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Politicising Europe's justice deficit: some preliminaries


  • Wilkinson, Michael


Normative political theory is divided on whether questions of distributive justice properly extend beyond the state. From a functionalist perspective, however, justice reflects a balance of material forces, subject to the logics of ‘market’ and ‘social’ justice, or ‘capitalism’ and ‘democracy’. The justice ‘deficit’ is the imbalance or disequilibrium in these logics, an imbalance which the constitution of the post-war European state stabilises through their constraint. European integration, initially an important feature of this post-war settlement, now increasingly comes to be viewed as a significant threat to it. Whereas market logic and capital have been rapidly supra-nationalised, social-democratic logic has struggled to transcend the state, the EU, in particular, lacking the channels of contestation to legitimise redistribution. This leads to an imbalance in the forces of capitalism and democracy, a justice ‘deficit’, which destabilizes national as well as supranational institutions, but also leads to questions being asked of what Germans owe Greeks, or vice versa. The justice deficit and reaction to it now appear to be threatening core features of state sovereignty. But it also suggests that the logic of the state - and the question: to whom are obligations owed? - must itself be subject to contestation; the dilemma of market and social justice, or capitalism and democracy, must be replaced with a trilemma, of market, social and democratic justice.

Suggested Citation

  • Wilkinson, Michael, 2014. "Politicising Europe's justice deficit: some preliminaries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55831, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:55831

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gerner-Beuerle, Carsten & Paech, Philipp & Schuster, Edmund-Philipp, 2013. "Study on directors’ duties and liability," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 50438, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    3. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
    4. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-156.
    5. Cheffins, Brian R, 2001. "Does Law Matter? The Separation of Ownership and Control in the United Kingdom," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 459-484, Part I Ju.
    6. John Armour & Simon Deakin & Prabirjit Sarkar & Mathias Siems & Ajit Singh, 2007. "Shareholder Protection and Stock Market Development: An Empirical Test of the Legal Origins Hypothesis," Working Papers wp358, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    7. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    8. Lucian A. Bebchuk & Zvika Neeman, 2010. "Investor Protection and Interest Group Politics," NBER Chapters,in: Corporate Governance National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2008. "The law and economics of self-dealing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 430-465, June.
    10. John Armour & Simon Deakin & Priya Lele & Mathias Siems, 2009. "How Do Legal Rules Evolve? Evidence from a cross-country Comparison of Shareholder, Creditor and Worker Protection," Working Papers wp382, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:30728041 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Arcot, Sridhar & Bruno, Valentina & Faure-Grimaud, Antoine, 2010. "Corporate governance in the UK: Is the comply or explain approach working?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 193-201, June.
    13. Mathias M Siems, 2006. "Legal origins: reconciling law and finance and comparative law," Working Papers wp321, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    14. Armour, J. & Deakin, S. & Mollica, V. & Siems, M.M., 2010. "Law and Financial Development: What we are learning from time-series evidence," Working Papers wp399, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:55831. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LSERO Manager). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.