Sunday, February 09, 2014

Robert A. Dahl (1915 – 2014): “a political scientist who was widely regarded as his profession’s most distinguished student of democratic government”

“What about the ownership and control of economic enterprises as a source of political inequality? Ownership and control of firms affects political inequality in two ways that are closely related but rather different. First, ownership and control contribute to the great differences among citizens in wealth, income, status, skills, information, control over information and propaganda, access to political leaders, and, on the average, predictable life chances, not only for mature adults but also for the unborn, infants, and children. After all due qualifications have been made, differences like these help in turn to generate significant inequalities among citizens in their capacities and opportunities for participating as political equals in governing the state.
Second, and even more obvious, with very few exceptions the internal governments of economic enterprises are flatly undemocratic both de jure and de facto. Indeed, genuine political equality has been rejected by Americans as a proper principle of authority within firms. Hence the ownership and control of enterprises creates enormous inequalities among citizens in their capacities and opportunities for participation in governing economic enterprises.”—Robert A. Dahl, A Preface to Economic Democracy (University of California Press, 1985): 54-55

Further Reading :
  • Cohen, Joshua and Joel Rogers. On Democracy (Penguin Books, 1983). 
  • Curl, John. For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America (PM Press, 2nd ed., 2012). 
  • Elster, Jon and Karl Ove Moene. Alternatives to Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 1989). 
  • Santos, Boaventura de Sousa, ed. Another Production is Possible: Beyond the Capitalist Canon (Verso, 2007). 
  • Santos, Boaventura de Sousa, ed. Democratizing Democracy: Beyond the Liberal Democratic Canon (Verso, 2007). 
  • Schweickart, David. Against Capitalism (Westview Press, 1996). 


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