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A Preface to Economic Democracy / Edition 1

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Overview

Tocqueville pessimistically predicted that liberty and equality would be incompatible ideas. Robert Dahl, author of the classic A Preface to Democratic Theory, explores this alleged conflict, particularly in modern American society where differences in ownership and control of corporate enterprises create inequalities in resources among Americans that in turn generate inequality among them as citizens.

Arguing that Americans have misconceived the relation between democracy, private property, and the economic order, the author contends that we can achieve a society of real democracy and political equality without sacrificing liberty by extending democratic principles into the economic order. Although enterprise control by workers violates many conventional political and ideological assumptions of corporate capitalism as well as of state socialism. Dahl presents an empirically informed and philosophically acute defense of "workplace democracy." He argues, in the light of experiences here and abroad, that an economic system of worker-owned and worker-controlled enterprises could provide a much better foundation for democracy, political equality, and liberty than does our present system of corporate capitalism.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Dahl believes that a nation's political system cannot be truly democratic unless its economic system is democratic. He argues that Tocqueville's observation in 1831 of political equality in the United States became invalid as corporate capitalism gave some citizens substantially more political power than most enjoyed. Dahl addresses the problem that corporate capitalism creates for popular control of the political system. His solution of economic democracy takes the specific form of cooperative ownership by workers of their respective enterprises. Despite his desire for a major overhaul of the American economic system, he is noncommittal about the chances that it will take place. Both his detailed analysis of Tocqueville's ideas and his provocative advocacy of economic change will make the book useful in academic and large public libraries. David Steiniche, Social Sciences Dept., Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520058774
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/8/1986
  • Series: Quantum Books Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 957,031
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Is Equality
Inimical to Liberty?
2. Democracy, Political Equality, and Economic Liberty
3. Democracy and the Economic Order
4. The Right to Democracy Within Firms
5. Ownership, Leadership, and Transition

Epilogue
Bibliography

Index

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