John Locke′s political economy lends itself to conservative, liberal and radical interpretations that frame the conceptual ambiguities that still shape our debates over government′s proper economic functions. Suggests that “masculinity” was a powerful undercurrent in Locke′s thought which linked these ambiguities and makes them explicable. In short, Locke′s political economy was a “gendered” one which juxtaposed Enlightenment hopes that “manly” men could balance freedom and equality, labour and prosperity, and political order, to ancient misogynist fears that “effeminate” men caused chaos when freed from political constraints. Ultimately, Locke′s scepticism resulted in a heavy investment in political prerogative which has been parlayed into twentieth century political hegemony.
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