Democratic capitalism and respect for the value of freedom
by Waheed Hussain
International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics (IJBGE), Vol. 2, No. 3/4, 2006

Abstract: Most theorists believe that when it comes to freedom, no economic system does better than laissez-faire capitalism – the system may have other problems, but as far as freedom is concerned, laissez-faire is as good as it gets. The goal of this paper is to show that this view is mistaken. I begin by criticising two important contemporary conceptions of freedom, the libertarian and the liberal egalitarian conceptions, both of which support the dominant view. I then develop a better alternative, one that I call the social democratic conception of freedom. Using this conception, I go on to show that an economic system that requires firms to have an internal structure that makes decision-making more transparent and responsive to the concerns of workers actually shows greater respect for freedom than laissez-faire capitalism does.

Online publication date: Thu, 19-Oct-2006

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