Alan Thomas's groundbreaking new book sets itself three main tasks. First, to effect a marriage of sorts between liberal and republican political philosophy. Second, to show that this marriage bears important progeny, in the form of a theory of property-owning democracy (POD). Third, to show that POD is the marriage's only legitimate child. Welfare-state capitalism and worker control, in other words, are not legitimate heirs to liberal-republican values. Thomas makes a cogent and original case for the first, matchmaking, task. I will therefore grant him that premise and focus on the internal coherence of his argument, that is, his defense of POD.

I begin by summarizing Republic of Equals. Thomas's opening gambit consists in arguing that liberalism, exemplified by Rawls's political philosophy, and republicanism, exemplified by Pettit's, are existentially interdependent. Both share the goal of averting a “drift to oligarchy” through the concentration...

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