Challenge 61:156-182 (2018)

David Ellerman
University of Ljubljana
In her recent book Private Government, Elizabeth Anderson makes a powerful but pragmatic case against the abuses experienced by employees in conventional corporations. The purpose of this review-essay is to contrast Anderson’s pragmatic critique of many abuses in the employment relation with a principled critique of the employment relationship itself. This principled critique is based on the theory of inalienable rights that descends from the Reformation doctrine of the inalienability of conscience down through the Enlightenment in the abolitionist, democratic, and feminist movements. That theory was the basis for the abolition of the voluntary slavery or self-sale contract, the voluntary non-democratic constitution (pactum subjectionis), and the voluntary coverture marriage contract in today’s democratic countries. When understood in modern terms, that same theory applies as well against the voluntary self-rental or employment contract that is the basis for our current economic system.
Keywords Elizabeth Anderson  workplace democracy  inalienable rights  democratic theory  coverture marriage contract
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Does Classical Liberalism Imply Democracy?David Ellerman - 2015 - Ethics and Global Politics 8 (1).
The Democratic Firm: An Argument Based on Ordinary Jurisprudence.David Ellerman - 1999 - Journal of Business Ethics 21 (2-3):111 - 124.
The Case for Workplace Democracy.David Ellerman - 2018 - In Council democracy: towards a democratic socialist politics. New York, NY, USA: pp. 210-227.
Needed but Unwanted. Thomas Hobbes’s Warnings on the Dangers of Multitude, Populism and Democracy.Mikko Jakonen - 2016 - Las Torres de Lucca: Revista Internacional de Filosofía Política 5 (9):89-118.
For-Profit Corporations in a Just Society.John Douglas Bishop - 2008 - Business Ethics Quarterly 18 (2):191-212.


Added to PP index

Total views
30 ( #321,604 of 2,325,990 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
30 ( #21,971 of 2,325,990 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes