DOI link for Response
The dominance of neoliberalism in mainstream political doctrine has led to deregulation in some areas, while in others it has disenabled specifically targeted legal interventions that are rooted in the sociocultural movements of an earlier era. In its failure to provide a solution to the systemic inequality that exists in the relationship between worker and employing organisation, vulnerability theory is in excellent company. The individual’s ‘spiritual’ or internal life with its religious connotations typical of mid-nineteenth-century thought can be substituted with the secular and, thus fittingly contemporary, ‘human condition’ so that both apparently make the same assumption that it is our embodied state that distinguishes labour from other forms of exchange and which should guard against its commodification. Although theoretically sound, vulnerability theory’s pro-regulatory stance depends for its realisation on the enactment of law and policy which in turn relies on the state’s ability to separate its law-making function from potentially conflicting political and economic goals.