A Theory of Economic Democracy

Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2000)
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Abstract

What is economic democracy? What, if anything, justifies it? This thesis argues that liberal theories of justice are objectionable insofar as they emphasize the distribution of resources, having little to say about how production is governed. The commitments central to liberal democracy call for some degree of workplace democracy as well as distributive justice. ;Many liberals begin from a set of fundamental values, derive principles of distribution, and propose to organize economic institutions so as to realize these principles. I call this the 'Fabian logic of contemporary liberalism'. And I argue that it cannot be sustained. The values and ideas central to liberal democracy have implications for economic governance that are independent of distributive justice. They call for some degree of workplace democracy. ;The thesis defends this claim against three objections: that workplace democracy would be unnecessary in a just society; that there are non-employees---e.g., community residents---with a claim to govern the firm; and that workplace democracy is incompatible with liberal neutrality. ;The liberal conception of democracy underlying this argument has implications beyond the employment relationship. It suggests, most generally, that liberalism has a stronger connection to democratic institutions than its proponents, and many of its critics, have recognized

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Basic Liberties, the Moral Powers and Workplace Democracy.Stephen K. McLeod - 2018 - Ethics, Politics and Society 1:232–261.

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