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Due concetti da riesaminare

Risposta a Maffettone

Anno XXII, n. 97, aprile-giugno 1987
Centro Einaudi


Two concepts under review

The dispute between liberalism and socialism as rival philosophies is no longer productive in that it rose up before the advent of universal suffrage. Analysis of the problem in terms of institutions, political systems and legal machinery may prove to be more fruitful. Universal suffrage has brought about profound modifications both to liberalism and to socialism. The former saw politics as the product of reason and has since been forced to acknowledge the centrality of special interests. Socialism, on the other hand, has abandoned as archaic the idea of socializing the means of production together with economism. All this has eliminated the main motive behind the controversy between liberalism and socialism; that is, the clash between rationality and materialism or between the legality of private ownership and expropriation policies. The third technical-scientific revolution and the formation of the mass society – which are also phenomena linked to universal suffrage – further encourage the transformation of economic and social structures, thus making the contraposition between liberalism and socialism less and less relevant.