Distributive Justice and Adam Smith (Istanbul Talk) IV (final)

A model for understanding Smith might be provided by Foucault’s discussion of ‘art of government’ and governmentality in the 18th century, not because Foucault was a a great Smith scholar, or that he was correct in every respect in his understanding of 18th century thought, but because his schema is so good at illustrating the general contours of thought. Foucault thinks of a model of ‘nature’ related to an emphasis on government becoming effective through learning to restrain itself. That self-limitation allows the natural growth of commerce and the emergence of natural man.

The 18th century understanding of the ‘savage’ promotes a natural man who can be the individual of political economy and of contractual relations (as in the political contract which Smith did not advocate, and the importance of voluntary contracts between free individuals, which Smith does advocate). There is an idea of ‘natural liberty’ in Smith which is what allows commercial society, and the benefits that commercial society brings to all classes free of too much design and political schemes.

The influence on Smith of the model of ‘nature’ can also be seen in his tendency to see agriculture as more natural and therefore more important to wealth than manufacture, and to understand financial and banking sectors as less important than either, even if necessary. Similar evaluations can be found in his attitude to countryside and city, particularly the capital city of a monarchy where luxury is concentrated. Smith does have a critical attitude to the maldistribution of economic goods through politically centred concentrations of wealth, but it is the weakening of such impositions on the natural development of trade which is important to Smith, not schemes of redistribution.

There is a theory (largely implicit) of distributive justice in Smith but not a justification of redistribution, and it is important to maintain that distinction. There is a Smithian desire to remove distortions of ‘natural’ distributive justice, with the welfare of the poor in mind and conditioned by disdain for the luxuries of the rich, but no desire to re-arrange property and income distribution through state power, and in general no desire for measures which limit the ‘natural’ growth of wealth except at margins which will not have a major impeding effect, as in the proposal for free education for the poorest or direct taxes on the luxury goods of the rich. Other interpretations of Smith tend to make false equivalences between concern for the welfare of the poor, or criticism of measures which harm the poor, and enthusiasm for state re-arrangement of the distribution of income and wealth.

 

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Distributive Justice and Adam Smith (Istanbul Talk) III

In Smith distributive justice has a rather accidental aspect then, as we can see it emerging when other considerations are taken into account rather than having  structure of arguments of its own. This could be taken as simply the consequence of Smith not writing a book on justice, or the principles of politics. However, we do have his Lectures on Jurisprudence for the law and theory of justice, The Theory of Moral Sentiments for his moral principles, and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations for his political economy, and much associated thought about the state, taxes, poverty, public works, luxury and so on. There is a theory of distributive justice which can be constructed from these texts, and others, but that is not to say a theory of redistributive justice.

One of the problems with Smith commentary is that admirable scholars and political theory thinkers, like Rasmussen and Fleischacker, who are disposed favourably to a theory of redistributive justice see it in those elements of Smith which express a wish for distributive justice. There is distributive justice in Smith in the sense that he favours the distribution that emerges from freedom in economic activities, and in the state measures he favours to benefit the poor rather than the rich. However, that is not the same as the kind of belief in a predetermined pattern of distribution of justice which Rawlsians, or egalitarian liberal favour, at the extreme a completely flat distribution as argued for by G.A. Cohen and which is in the basic assumptions of Habermas‘ thought on norms, ethics, and discourse.

It is important to note in this context that there are people who favour a flat income distribution who do not favour a state designed plan of redistribution. That includes individualist anarchists like Roderick Long and Gary Chartier, who believe that markets and property exist best through voluntary protection and law enforcement agencies, as without the power of a central state which monopolises violence, there is no strong force favouring large scale concentrations of property. In that case the state acts that favour financial services and large companies cannot exist and such economic entities would not exist. Without such large entities there can only be a diverse and broadly equal range of small companies and the self-employed. That kind of analysis draws on Smith and David Hume, referring to the way that government bonds ground a financial market by transferring money to bondholders from the tax payers in general, the monopolies granted to companies, the layer of senior state bureaucrats who have an impact on general income distribution  and naturally favour the existence of a private bourgeoise, interact with and find ways of getting family members into it. Smith does  not favour the anarchist solution, but the existence of that option in the terms I have just described, clarifies something about Smith’s attitude to distributive justice. That it is possible to favour increasing economic benefits for the poor and to attach more importance to that than increasing economic benefits for the rich, without favouring state imposed schemes of redistributive justice, but favouring that distributive pattern that emerges from state enforcement of the rules of a market economy. There is some modest state action to promote public goods and relieve the conditions of the poorest, but beyond that Smith is arguing for withdrawal of the state, not expansion of the state.

Admirable though the work of Rasmussen and Fleischacker on Smith is, they are too inclined to see an underlying drive towards redistribution though they acknowledge that there is no explicit argument along those lines. One compensating argument is that  no one else was arguing for redistribution at that time, or previously, so Smith could not make that argument. Though it is true that recent ideas of comprehensive redistribution through the tax and benefits system, maybe combined with strong trade unions and collective bargaining legislation, lack precedents from before the emergence of the modern welfare state in the 1870s, there are some precedents. Plato and Aristotle favoured some restraint on accumulation of  wealth, and Rousseau evidently preferred a flat income distribution, though not regarding it as plausible in a large modern commercial society.

Various ancient, medieval and early modern states have had a confiscatory attitude towards large accumulations of private wealth, particularly where it threatens political power, and bought consent from the lower classes on the model of the ‘bread and circuses‘ provided for the poor of Rome during the Empire. Smith himself notes the way that land was transferred to army veterans through colonies in conquered territories.  Thomas More’s Utopia provided a Renaissance example of a literary thought experiment about an egalitarian communist society. Radical Protestant movements of the Reformation, such as the Anabaptists at Münster provided examples of egalitarian communism. None of this seems to have been attractive to Smith. It could be argued that he would have been attracted to a Thomas Paine type program of taxation, but despite living into the time of Paine’s notorious (to mainstream British opinion) major writings there is no evidence that Smith was impressed.

Distributive Justice and Adam Smith (Istanbul Talk) II

There is a welfare, or ethical, aspect to Smith’s political economy, which includes a bias towards the interests of the poor, and against wealth that arises from the less productive parts of the economy. However, these aspects of his thought do not lead him to state designed schemes for distributive justice. Rather he demands an end to those state activities which harm the poor, and the most productive parts of the economy. The assumption is that state action is to very limited, and beyond education, which Smith still  believes should be largely private, he does not suggest expanded state activity on behalf of the poor, as distinct from the re-ordering of taxes and the regulation of the economy which itself tends towards deregulation. Herzog refers to negative externalities and asymmetries of power in the economy which are not addressed by Smith and which might have led him to expand the field of state action if he had lived long enough to see those issues become of more concern in political life and in political thought.

Answers to this kind of question are necessarily speculative, but we can get some idea by looking at where Smith can be located in relation to other thinkers of his time. Wilhelm von Humbolt who was writing a bit later in The Limits of State Action puts forward an eloquent case for minarchism, minimal state liberalism, which he refers to as proper polity or a state based on negative welfare. This includes a rejection of the kind of modest proposals Smith has for state activity with regard to public goods and the condition of the poor. There is not precise equivalent for Humboldt on the side of a very active state. Rousseau had a strong belief in the justice of income and wealth equality, but he thought it was only relevant circumstances where not much state action would be necessary to maintain that situation. There is some attention at some points to measures the state might take to restrain inequality, as in the proposed constitution for Corsica, though the concern is just as much with the moral corruption of leaving a locality and immediate community. The major arguments for an active and expanding state of Smith’s time come from the actions and brief texts of political actors, most famously the French minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert, and from a conservative position of maintaining an existing aristocratic-monarchical state.

The difficulty in comparing Smith with current thinkers is that ‘progressive’ thinkers of the 18th century favoured limited government, and now support expansive government. Those elements of 18th century thought which anticipate statist-active government progressive positions now are only accepted by Smith in their most moderate form and more than balanced by state limiting proposals. This suggests a libertarian-egalitarian liberal cross over, but more leaning to the libertarian side. The likelihood therefore is that Smith would have favoured very limited moderate steps on the issues raised by Herzog, and would have wished to cut back on big schemes to restructure the distributive effects of the market.

Smith’s view of distributive justice early on in Lectures on Jurisprudence, where he invokes Aristotle and Grotius to discuss the distinction between commutative justice and distributive justice. Commutative justice refers to what cannot be taken from us or attacked, because it rightly belongs to us, or is part of us. It is a very strong form of justice relative to distributive justice. Commutative justice is enforced through the state legal system, distributive justice is a matter or morally preferably outcomes in which we prefer to see wealth going to those in need rather than those who already have many luxuries. Smith never directly says that all distributive  justice should become a voluntary matter never enforced by the state, though that might seem to follow. He also refers, as we have seen, to the relation between politics and issues of ideals of distribution, the inevitability of the ways that the state tries to maintain itself though distributive strategies. Smith may think that distributive justice is in a middle position between the institutions of criminal justice which enforce commutative justice (strictly speaking) and the purely individual voluntary nature of charitable giving. Distributive justice is something pursued by the state for the sake of social peace, and the maintaining of itself, as a precondition for social existence, but not a matter of absolute justice.

Distributive Justice and Adam Smith (Istanbul Talk) I

Based on a presentation for a panel I convened on Adam Smith at the conference Pluralism and Conflict: Distributive Justice Beyond Rawls and Conflict, Fatih University, Istanbul, 6-8th June 2013.

There are two aspects to distributive justice in Smith, referring more to the underlying themes of his work rather than his explicit claims. One aspect is the manner in which states maintain themselves by bringing advantages to enough people for it not to encounter too much resistance to enjoy and orderly existence. The second aspect is more morally guided with regard to protecting the poorest from complete destitution and preserving the sense that justice is being applied to all. The first aspect might not seem like justice at all, because it is what people in power do in order to keep their status, and associated economic goods, rather than what anyone does for the sake of justice itself.

Smith himself was not, however, an advocate of a form of moral theory detached from other interests. Theory of Moral Sentiments gives psychological and social bases for moral rules and judgements, and though Smith strongly resisted the idea of an egotistical reduction of ethics, the criterion of satisfying the invisible spectator does not establish a sharp distinction between self-regarding acts and altruistic acts. Ethics on  a collective level grows and and improves over time. The idea of social and political justice emerging from state craft is in this case not a big jump from Smith’s explicit thoughts about justice. The second aspect flows from Smith‘s explicit thoughts about ethics and justice, though it does not give us a fully explicit theory.

 

The second aspect is developed in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, mostly with regard to distributive injustice. This itself has two aspects: injustice towards the poor and injustice between sectors of society. The first brings us closer to the more pure form of distributive justice questions, and the second closer to the state craft issues. In these threads in Wealth of Nations, the cause is largely the activity of the state rather than the results of markets being left free of state legislation and government schemes. Smith sees injustice as resulting from collaboration between merchants in the same sector, but sees this as more the consequence of state intervention than of free commerce. The state enabling, encouraging and even requiring enterprises to form corporate bodies (such as local chambers of commerce in Britain) in the same sector is the biggest reason for merchants conspiring against the public. That is the source of the famous quotation about merchants conspiring against the public, though that quotation is often used to support demands for increased state regulation. The great injustices that Smith mentions to the poor come in part from the way the Poor Law tends to tie the poor to their locality of birth, under suspicion that they might apply for public funds in a parish (minimal unit of local government in Britain) where they lack previous connections. There is a concern here with the suffering of the poor, but also with the negative consequences for the economy of restricting labour mobility (concern which can and should be applied now to migration between countries).

A related concern is that lingering requirements from the Middle Ages for seven years of apprenticeship, before practising a craft, limits the chances to the poor to improve their economic situation. The poor are less able to offer skills to make a good living if faced with an artificial seven year delay before putting their skills out on the market.  Again there is an interlacing of concern for the condition and rights of the poor, with the negative consequence for consumers in general and what we might now call the public good.

Another source of injustice to the poor is the application of taxes on the necessities of life, in which case the concern is more purely one for the condition of the poor. Smith’s favours taxing luxuries rather than necessities, but he nowhere calls for graduated (progressive) taxes, and only a tortuous interpretation of his work can support such an idea. Public debt results in a distributive injustice for Smith, the understanding of which includes the assumption that ‘natural liberty’ is a better basis for political economy than state interventions. Public debt leads to a forced transfer of income from the productive sectors of the economy to creditors, that is the financial sector of the economy. That includes a transfer (also noted by Hume) from tax payers of low income to rich holders of government bonds (a very relevant issue at present, though it tends to be egalitarians now who are less concerned with debt than conservatives and libertarians).The solution that Smith advocates is reducing debt, which includes reducing public expenditure, particularly on war, so again an approach different from most egalitarians at present, though on the specific issue of military spending there could be some agreement.

Political Judgement, Justice and Republicanism IV (Istanbul Talk on Hannah Arendt)

The political realm in antiquity was the realm of a kind of freedom which could not belong to everyone, as some have to labour, including the labour done by slaves. The political sphere was one of equality, but qualified by aristocratic suspicion of free labourers, an equality of liberty from coercion by a tyrant in every case, but ambiguous about how far those free relations could extend amongst the population. The sphere of the home was a place of non-freedom. Men ruled the home and themselves only became part of something where there was freedom on leaving the home to participate in public affairs. The suggestion is that even the male patriarchal ruler of the home was preoccupied there with business which had nothing to with freedom, managing the family, slaves and the wealth/property of the family.

In her understanding of antiquity, Arendt sees wealth as something separate from property. Property was not separable from the family and was essential to political elite status. Wealth refers to all the things owned by the family, and its income which be lost. That idea of the permanence of property was essential to how the ancients thought of what was proper to a governing class, and that assumption lingered into the 19th century, when capitalism undermined the idea that any kind of property could be separated from the world of exchange where it acquired a contingent status in relation to the owning family. The non-political sphere of household family affairs became the basis of polities, which moved away form discussion of matters of purely public interest to maximisation of everyone’s wealth. Equality and justice moved from being questions largely for the elite class in its awareness of itself, to the main concerns of politics in promoting the welfare of all.

This is part of Arendt’s picture of the emergence of economic and social goods for all as the centre of modern politics, a process she does not reject, but which inspires reservations about the loss of political questions within the political world. Again her supposed nostalgia for Athenian republicanism must be heavily qualified by her capacity for sketching out economic, social and political shifts since then. There is a desire for moments of political participation but this does not so much involve Athenian nostalgia as idealisation of the early stages of the American, French and Russian revolutions.The interest in both the virtues of participation and of aristocratic excellence draw on Tocqueville, whose work is part of the 18th and 19th century attempts to reconcile antique republican political liberty with modern individualistic commercial liberty. One of the sources for Tocqueville here is Benjamin Constant’s essay on the difference between the liberty of the ancients and the moderns, which draws on Athens as the most ‘modern‘ of ancient republics. The Pettit style of distinction between neo-Roman liberty and civic humanism, Athenian and Roman republicanism does not really account for this.

There is a drive in Arendt towards separating politics from the kind of welfare concerns that have absorbed politics since the 18th century, though this just as much as about hanging onto non-Kantian and non-Utilitarian notions of the good, so what hanging to what is normally called virtue theory, though she does not use that phrase. In other words, she defends a version of eudaemonism which is not just about immediate pleasure, but about excellence, distinction and becoming worthy of history. The being worthy of history establishes a political goal, the birth of political institutions and laws that will be remembered and last.  Arendt has a disruptive perspective here, since the agonistic element of her view of republicanism, the aristocratic struggle for excellence spread widely in the population, also undermines the Roman and Spartan, what Nietzsche called the Doric state, image of marmoreal permanence. The ancient aristocratic writers preferred the permanence and solidity of Rome and Sparta, that is the meaning of the rejection of Athens then and more recently, as in the criticisms of democracy by the Founders of the American republic, who in large degree tried to established an unchanging Lycurgian constitution, run by an oligarchy protected from the passions of the public. Though Pettit and Skinner would not define themselves in that way, they are positioning themselves in the same territory. Pettit’s work on Hobbes in which he implicitly finds the Hobbesian sovereign to be the centre of Rawls and Habermas style rational discourse goes even further in the direction of power for those who head the institution and make the laws which claim to be guided by reason, and what the people would want if they thought about it long enough under ideal conditions. That includes schemes of redistribution, of state enforced patterns of income and wealth which are in tension with the unplanned nature of the most productive economic activity. There is no such constraint on Arendtian political judgement, which makes judgement a matter of conceiving common goods and gaols without an inherent bias towards state power over the economy, in norms that demand government designed economic patterns.

 

 

Political Judgement, Justice and Republicanism III (Istanbul Talk on Hannah Arendt)

Hannah Arendt’s political theory, and broader account of the human world, amongst other things, shows a way that we can understand the movement from antique philosophical contempt for the slave, and the labourer, to political philosophies of human equality.   The broad point is that the kind of equality Marx sought for all who work is a product of capitalism itself. [Capitalism makes clear a distinction present, but only a very submerged way, in antique concepts between the labour of the whole body and the work of the hands. It is labour which is one of the things that distinguishes us from animals according to Arendt. Her capacity to assume an absolute opposition between the merely animal and the human, is not so widely shared now, but we can hold on to it as a form of ranking which is not reliant on absolute distinctions, including any absolute distinction between the animal and the human.] The modern commercial, or capitalist world, of production driven by trade across large areas unified as markets, is contrasted with production  by the household, for the household, at the centre of antique understanding. An understanding in which any kind of labour degrades, a labourer is a slave or only just above servitude in status, and can be tortured in judicial proceedings since that disgrace enacted on the body is just an extension of the disgrace of labour. Again these are no absolutes. We would have a very poor understanding of the antique world, and even of pre-historic human communities, if we do not appreciate that there was trade across large areas. The point is that the weight of trade across large areas compared with more self-contained forms of production and consumption increases, creating a sense of nationhood and of  humanity as unified by trade and by participation in production. That production for trade is what pushes in the direction of egalitarianism in ethics and politics, and then egalitarian ideas of income and wealth distribution

Arendt’s alleged nostalgia for ancient Athens provides a useful way of thinking about why income and wealth egalitarianism are not necessary outcomes of moral equality, other than reasons of economic efficiency. Arendt emphasise the antique Greek aristocratic pursuit of excellence, but not simply by going back to antiquity. It is something emphasised in the late 19th century by Jacob Burckhardt, the historian and cultural historian, so we might see an implicit attempt there to find something equivalent to economic competition in antique aristocratic competition. Burckhardt was a friend of Nietzsche, there is some common purpose and some benefit in framing Nietzsche’s political thought in relation to Burckhardt, but we cannot go into that right now.  Arendt does not suggest that aristocratic competition finds a direct equivalent in market competition, emphasising political competition. There as a distinct 19th century bourgeois tendency towards seeking dignity in antique and medieval heroic references, and this is open to charges of anachronism, if not outright absurdity. The point is that the political realm of competition provides the nearest equivalent to ancient aristocratic competition, which included the idea of political honour. We could take the economic  realm as something completely different, as if politics was heaven in relation to economic materialism. That is Marx’s critique of Hegel, and he was right in analysis if not so right in his offered solutions. There must be some spill over between economic efforts, which are efforts to find social status, ‘honour, as much as anything, and the search for political office, though hopefully with the  minimum of confusion between the political search to provide public goods, and the sectional work of economic self-interest. Back in antiquity, Pericles himself suggested in his famous funeral oration that poverty is not disgraceful, but a failure to struggle against it is.

Amongst other things, Arendt shows the broad history and conceptual transformation which led from an Ancient Greek understanding of equality, and inequality, in justice to modern assumptions regarding those issues. Arendt does refer to Ancient Rome as the most political of communities.  We can see that Arendt did not make an opposition between Athens and Rome in the way that Pettit does, though she certainly does note some differences. Arendt contributes to an already well established interest in law as fundamental to the difference between Athens and Rome. We can see such a suggestion in the philosophical idealist history of Hegel. The way Arendt understands the difference is that Greek law is a form of divine authority over humans, while Roman law is about contractual relations between individuals and at the basis of political institutions. That is a distinction that suits the idea that Rome was the most political of communities, since it is the possibility of freely held relationships, which is the meaning of politics in the ancient world. That is Arendt refers to politics as the realm of freedom, as distinct from necessity. The work at issue, is most obviously slave labour. Arendt notes ancient distinctions between slaves (presumably by birth) and conquered peoples who become slaves. That separation of freedom from work includes the work of free labourers, on the whole. Ancient democracies, including Rome though that democracy was rather rigged to the benefit of the aristocracy, gave political rights to free labourers but never lost the disdain for labourers. Both Plato and Aristotle assume that political leadership should be in the hands of an elite not concerned with work or money making, and even regard politics itself as non-serious and secondary compared with philosophy, an inevitably elite pursuit. Arendt does allow for the political vision of human life in Plato and Aristotle, but also makes us pay attention to the opposite drive in their thought, the thought that the polity is something for the philosopher to ignore as far as possible.

 

Political Judgement, Justice and Republicanism II (Istanbul Talk on Hannah Arendt)

There is distinct interest in aristocracy and competitive excellence in Arendt, which do not obviously lend themselves to egalitarian redistributionist projects, she is more Tocqueville and Burckhardt than Marx or even Thomas Paine. Arendt’s thought defends the existence and irreducibility of political community as part of any human community. There is no possible depoliticised utopia of rational (utlra-Rawlsianism) designers or (ultra-Hayekianism) of spontaneous orders, which evades the need for a political sphere. That is a sphere that mixes competition for power and the pursuit of political values, and that is an inevitable part of any human community. The political sphere is one of selection with regard to membership of political elites in different political currents, and in the overarching political elite of state institutions.

Arendt provides a framework for social justice which is much more engaged with the nature of politics as contestatory and as oriented towards the conquest of power, than the Rawls approach of public reason, or other approaches to political foundations such as discursive rationality in Habermas. The advantage of Arendt’s approach is that is does not need to presume a perfectly rational basis for distributing economic goods or a perfectly rational basis for political judgement. Even if we just take those rationalistic approaches as guiding ideals, they lead to theory unable to deal with the spontaneity necessary to a dynamic economic order, or the agonism necessary to pluralist political life.  It is not possible to make a strong enough distinction between questions of political citizenship and questions of distribution of economic goods on the basis of Aristotle’s approach, which leads him to limit economic inequality between citizens to a ratio of five to one. No one has created a society with flourishing political freedoms, strong individual rights, and a dynamic economy, on the basis of such restrictions, even if we allow for the limited number that Aristotle thinks of as citizens.  The Athens that Aristotle knew showed the ways that prosperity, democracy, and individual rights go together and grow, in an economy which is not constrained in the ways that Aristotle would like economic exchange and inequality to be constrained.  Arendt shows how there can be participatory and contestatory democracy, with elites approximately equivalent to Aristotle’s aristocracy, but based on choice and competition. The reaction to the intrusive economic sphere, and various dissatisfaction with distribution in modernity are the basis of the modern political sphere.  The dissatisfaction with distribution does not just take the form or resistance to inequality, but also of sectional demands for more economic goods, and complaints about misdirection of economic goods to others, along with attempts to define genuine public goods and forms of government action which do not create sectional economic advantages or undermine economic incentives. That is the James Buchanan public choice style of analysis of how political bargaining can undermine the provision of public goods is a better fit with the Arendtian themes of political judgement and struggle than redistributivist models. The public choice model does not exclude some redistribution where there satisfies some widely accepted public good, or moral impulse, to keep citizens out of poverty, but it tends to provide reasons for regarding attempts to define an acceptable income and wealth spread, and who gets economic rewards, as pretexts for capture of the polity by coalitions of sectional interest.

Arendt provides a framework in which politics is not depoliticised as in Rawls, something taken further by many libertarian thinkers, economics is not subordinated to political rationalism as in Rawls, and there is a stronger distinction between the economic and political spheres than in Aristotle. Political justice is partly established through the competitive means of selecting a genuine political élite, and detached from possession of economic goods. There cannot be a complete separation between political elites and economic elites. Members of the political elite are likely to be economically privileged as political actors, and have have advantages in becoming economic actors.  However, the relationship is much looser than Aristotle could envisage, as the modern economic sphere generates a level of economic goods for the most successful in the economic sphere beyond the goods of the political elite.  The complexity of modern society, the more varied nature of the economic world, the changes in the private-public distinction examined by Arendt, enable more distinction between distribution of political and economic goods.  She also understands that the complexity, the individualism, and the changeableness of modern societies, creates a need for an effective political elite able to shape the rules of the economic sphere to the public welfare, without eroding the autonomy, emergent complexity, and spontaneity of the economic sphere.

We should not seek a rationalistic determination of economic distribution or of the arguments of politics.  We should seek a framework that is both sustainable and adaptive, an evolutionary framework, where rules are clear and known but can be debated and changed. The political elite has been tested in the competitive nature of elections, and is not able to direct all economic goods towards itself.  Arendt shows how there can be a framework, rules, institutions and elite formation which are open to spontaneity and conflict, and thereby draw on the greatest Aristotelian insights into justice, politics, and judgement .