Breaking Free from the Free Market: The Existential Gap of Freedom

  • Peter Bloom


This chapter will explore the liberating potential held by existentialism for contemporary efforts to move beyond restrictive and orthodox market freedoms. Drawing on Sartre’s seminal early work “Existentialism and Freedom”, it will highlight the continuing importance of the insight that “existence precedes essence”, revealing the dangers of reifying human inspired and historically specific ways of understanding and living in the world. It will then trace out how the free market evolved from a radical existential promise for enhancing human freedom to a dogmatic discourse limiting its development and growth. Significantly, it will introduce the concept of an “existential gap” referring to the always existent chasm between our conscious capacity to choose how we interpret the world and our often material and social inability to substantially do so. Finally, it will highlight the positive existential gap opened up by market freedom, revealing a contemporary “existential challenge” to “break free from market freedoms” and construct “new foundations of freedom” in its place.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Bloom
    • 1
  1. 1.Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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