A European social model of state-market relations: the ethics of competition from a neo-liberal perspective
In this paper I portray "neo-liberalism" in its original conceptual meaning as opposed to the generic term of depreciation as which it is commonly used. I identify fair competition and the denial of all privilege as the major concerns of original neo-liberals. Ethical merit for competition might, at first sight, be based on only two principles: individual natural rights (equal liberty) and socially desirable outcomes ("unintended altruism"). It was the neo-liberal idea to put fairness-norms or universally applicable rules of just behaviour between an unqualified "input-based" ethics and an unqualified "output-based" ethical consequentialism. The enforcement of such rules is a major obligation of the state. Today, the European Union assumes the role of "guardian" of competition. In a certain, but limited sense, neoliberalism, correctly understood, can be argued to be the one founding "European Social Model". However, beyond the realm of common, universalisable interests, competition amongst social-political models seems a preferable option for Europe.
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