Deconstructing the Free Market: The Spectre of Existential Freedom

  • Peter Bloom


This chapter explores how the personal freedom often associated with the market and existentialism can be combined with a radical collective freedom. It continues from the previous chapter, by highlighting how for Sartre there is always a fraught tension between our radical existential freedom and our “identity projection”, that which we assume ourselves to be based our social roles and expectations. Thus for Sartre existential freedom is most concretely experienced through individuals forming their own continual “life project” that focuses not on what one is but has not yet become. Capitalism, of course, hints at just this possibility in its obsession with individual social mobility and the liberating potentials of market rationality, yet is limited by its orthodox commitment to market values. However, existential holds out an eternal “promise”—drawing on the ethico-political philosophy of Jacques Derrida—for enacting a never perfected but also perfectible freedom. In this respect, existential freedom hangs like a spectre over any and all dogmatic systems—including the present-day free market.


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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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