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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Ever since the Enlightenment, if not before, the idea of individual freedom has provided a basic ethical reference point against which the legitimacy of social and political institutions has been judged. This article appeals to an idea that is often thought to be a necessary element of the concept of freedom and which has a strong intuitive appeal. The idea, that an individual can only be free to the extent that his or her choices govern his or her actions, underpins one of the principle arguments for democracy. The article sets out the basic features of this argument. It then seeks to show that it applies not just to political institutions, but also to many other kinds of associations and, in particular, to economic enterprises. The article proposes to show that the same basic ethical commitments which lead to the promotion of political democracy should lead to the promotion of economic democracy.

Keywords: freedom, democracy, political institutions, economic enterprises, ethical commitments

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