To successfully address economic injustices, redistribution policies must be designed to recognise the webs of societal relations that influence people’s economic choices. Such relational webs shape and are shaped by the diverse ways in which goods and services are procured – a process that can severely limit the ability of some people to lead fulfilling and decent lives.
Frequently, policy approaches treat people as autonomous individuals, ignoring how relational power shapes and constrains their choices. This brief puts forward an alternative approach. A relational perspective can help policy makers and activists better understand the social processes that can hinder progress towards equitable outcomes.
Unlike conventional approaches to economic analysis, a relational approach highlights the voices, views and experiences of those whose relational lives are largely unknown to those setting economic policy. This briefing highlights the value of such an approach and of the importance of ‘recognition’ and ‘representation’ for successful redistribution policies.