Isocracy pp 147-185 | Cite as

The Anthropological Mutation

  • Nicolò BellancaEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism book series (PASTCL)


The institutional design outlined in the previous chapters can converge towards Isocracy only if people become again protagonists of their own lives. A real “anthropological mutation” is needed. This revolves around the reintroduction of those “hot passions” that capitalism tends to “freeze” and therefore “empty”. There are four main differences between the behaviour of homo oeconomicus and that of a passionate human being. Firstly, passions emerge through non-intentional acts, a loss of control by the subject. Secondly, any action nurtured by passions may worsen the subject’s well-being. Thirdly, passions exclude reciprocity: there is no indirect or future do ut des mechanism in the transactions motivated by passions because any action originated and nurtured by passions places its own raison d’être in itself. Finally, passions are not directly dependent on monetary rewards, because they do not vary (within a relevant interval) if the latter change. If people are passionate, no mechanism of domination and alienation can erase the world of life for the benefit of a political authority or the expansion of markets. It follows that revitalising hot passions is the main subjective condition that can be used as a means to widen the sphere of society within capitalism and to head towards an isocratic society. Passionate behaviours—both those “ethically virtuous”, and all the others—upset the status quo. There are no right or wrong passions, and it is possible that the wild, unbridled, uncontrollable passions regulate themselves endogenously, without the intervention of a tamer. The task of the (economic and political) isocratic institutional set-up is not that of regulating passions, but only that of avoiding that the subjects who advocate certain passions can gain a permanent advantage over other subjects.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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