Material conditions for the exercise of autonomy: The check of inequality to freedom Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2020


  • 48

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0122-9893


  • (copyright) 2020 Universidad Externado de Colombia. All rights reserved.There are relevant conceptual and factual tension between the autonomy that human beings really develop and the material conditions of the social origins that they have enjoyed. To understand this complexity, it is necessary to begin by analyzing the conditionality in the relationship between inequality and autonomy from the concept of poverty, economic inequalities and basic needs, explaining what the material conditions of social origins are. The theory of basic needs allows objectifying the concrete appropriate material conditions of the social origins that guarantee levels of development of autonomy compatible with the real freedom of people. Basic needs should be considered somehow in the process of the justifications of rights especially when some of those needs are included in certain legal obligations in our modern States through social rights and their effectiveness. It is therefore relevant to analyze the complex relationship (and the contradictions) that inequality, especially economic inequality, establishes with the enjoyment of people's autonomy, preventing or allowing them to be really autonomous and, therefore, really free. In short, showing the check (and maybe the checkmate) in which inequality puts autonomy and, therefore, freedom itself.


  • autonomy; economics inequality; equality; freedom; inequality; material conditions; needs; poverty; social origins; social rights