Justice Everywhere

a blog about justice in public affairs

American democracy is compromised. Its institutions must act to save it

Scott Chipolina offers the second in a series of Justice Everywhere posts on the US midterm elections and what they say about the state of American democracy. (For the first in the series, see Emilee Chapman’s ‘The United States Needs a Democracy Movement‘.)

person holding a white Error 155 signage

The November 6 midterms saw some 113 million Americans cast a ballot. This is the first time in American history that over 100 million voted in a midterm election. Prima facie, this record-setting voter turnout might indicate a thriving democracy. Yet other observations indicate just how far from secure American democracy is.

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The United States Needs a Democracy Movement

While most headlines have focused on the divergent successes of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, respectively, the 2018 midterm elections featured mixed results on another important dimension: electoral reform.  Ballot measures on various aspects of election law appeared on the ballots in 14 states, and most of them passed.  Voters in Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri (and possibly Utah) approved measures to establish more independent redistricting processes.  Michigan and Maryland voters passed laws to make registering to vote easier, and Florida voted to re-enfranchise approximately 1.4 million people who have completed sentences for prior felony convictions.  At the same time, though, voters in Arkansas and North Carolina approved requirements that voters to show a photo ID at the polls, making it more difficult for many people (disproportionately members of minority groups) to vote.

For nearly all activists involved in electoral reform, these outcomes will seem a mixed success.  But to most citizens, these results all look like a win for democracy.

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Conference Announcement: ASPP Annual Conference 2019

The next Association for Social and Political Philosophy Annual Conference will be held 24-26th June 2019 at Politics, Newcastle University, UK.

Theme: Justice in Times of Austerity, Rupture, & Polarisation

Keynote speakers:

Submissions: We welcome papers in any area of social and political philosophy, and particularly encourage papers offering normative or evaluative perspectives addressed to the contemporary political climate – papers concerned with justice in or in response to the context of countries reducing public expenditure and/or budget deficits, rising inequality, attitudes and parties veering towards political extremes, declining political civility, and both states and supra-state institutions facing schisms and separatist movements. This could include topics such as:

  • Social and economic policy
  • Disadvantage and inequality
  • Political ruptures
  • Democratic crisis and renewal

For more information about the conference and submission details please visit our website: conferences.ncl.ac.uk/aspp

 

Brazil’s Elections & The Defeat of Political Liberalism

The outcome of the October 7th Brazil elections meant a wide defeat of the Workers’ Party (PT), of the Brazilian Social Democracy’s Party (PSDB) and of many traditional political leaders. Jair Bolsonaro and other candidates who presented themselves as outsiders were the winners. However, politics is not only made by people, but also by ideas. Which of them were defeated?

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Lectureships at Newcastle Politics Department: Information & Applications

Newcastle Politics Department currently have 4 lectureships advertised and a chair/reader to be advertised shortly. In this blog post those who are on the interview panels for the lectureship posts give some information to anyone thinking of applying to try give everyone an inside track.

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On the Ethics of Self-Driving Cars: An Interview with Johannes Himmelreich

My colleague at Stanford’s Center for Ethics in Society, Johannes Himmelreich, is a philosopher who investigates agency and responsibility in contexts of collective collaboration and technological augmentation. Here, I ask Johannes about the ethical issues raised by the development of self-driving cars – one strand of his current research.

FN: Can you tell those of us who know less about the technology behind self-driving cars a little bit about where it’s currently at and how fast the development is going?

JH: In my view, the automotive sci-fi future will not come to your city within the next eight years. I would be very surprised if the majority of driving will be much different from what it is now. I expect we will see gradual improvements of systems that assist human driving. But, honestly, that’s more of a guess than a prediction. I actually can say very little about where the technology is at, since there is not much to go by that is publicly available and that is not just boisterous over-promising. This will change in the next 12-18 months. Google offshoot Waymo is starting a taxi service with self-driving cars in Phoenix, Arizona this year and General Motors’ brand Cruise say that they will start a similar so-called “robo-taxi” service in San Francisco next year. That’s when the rubber hits the road.

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Recent Vacancies in Political Theory/Philosophy/Ethics

Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Manchester (closing imminently)

Lecturer in Ethics / Political Philosophy, University of Sheffield (closing imminently)

Teaching Fellow in Philosophy, University of Edinburgh (closing imminently)

Tenure-Track / Tenured Position in Social & Political Philosophy, Stanford University

Research Associate in Ethics, Lancaster University

Lecturer / Senior Lecturer in Social & Political Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Senior Lecturer in Political Economy & Philosophy, Swansea University

Lecturer in Philosophy, Swansea University

Lecturer in Political Philosophy, Newcastle University

Assistant / Associate Professor in Political Theory, University of California, Berkeley

Assistant Professor in Philosophy, LSE

Assistant Professor (teaching) in Political Theory, Durham University

Max Weber Post-Doctoral Fellowships (open to political theory/philosophy applications), European University Institute

The Philosopher Queens

Women in philosophy have been ignored. Help crowdfund The Philosopher Queens to have their voices heard.  Its editors Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting tell us more about how and why this important book project has come about below.  

 

When we began looking for a book on women in philosophy we were not prepared for what we found – or rather didn’t find. An afternoon in Waterstone’s, followed by a trip to Kensington library, followed by an evening of angrily searching online for something, anything on women in philosophy, had generated almost nothing. The only book we found was written by an incredible woman in philosophy herself, Mary Warnock, who wrote a book in women in philosophy over 20 years ago. 

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Why central banks must change before the next crisis hits

Our recent book Do Central Banks Serve the People? sheds a critical light on the actions of central banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. Using the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England as examples, we show how they have stretched their mandate beyond their traditional tasks of price stability and financial stability. This short introduction to the book summarizes the argument that the expanded role of central banks has three serious drawbacks.

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How Workplace Wellness Programs Harm People with Disabilities

In a world where “wellness” has become a cultural signal of the American elite (think yoga and spa treatments), employers have not been afraid to market wellness  programs as a one-way ticket to greater health, wealth, and happiness. Watching this kind of rhetoric on display in the wellness movement, it’s hard not to think that wellness programs actually strengthen biases against what they’re intended to combat: disability, economic stagnancy, and mental illness. In this post, I articulate precisely this worry.

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