Sunday, September 6, 2009

Voice and Exit

“The idea that the mutuality or asymmetry of a relationship can be measured by the relative capacities of the parties to withdraw from it has been developed extensively by Albert O. Hirschman, in two books written many years apart. In his 1970 book entitled Exit, Voice and Loyalty, Hirschman makes a convincing connection between the influence of voice by members within groups or institutions and the feasibility of their exit from them. There is a complex relation, he argues, between voice and exit. On the one hand, if the exit option is readily available, this will ‘tend to atrophy the development of the art of voice.’ Thus, for example, dissatisfied customers who can easily purchase equivalent goods from another firm are unlikely to expend their energies voicing complaints. On the other hand, the nonexistence or low feasibility of the exit option can impede the effectiveness of voice, since the threat of exit, whether explicit or implicit, is an important means of making one’s voice influential.”

Okin, Susan. “Vulnerability in Marriage.” The Feminist Philosophy Reader. Ed. Alison Bailey and Chris Cuomo. New York: McGarw-Hill, 2008. 600-621.

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