Volume 18

Democracy and People over Profit

by James R. Otteson

A principle of equal moral agency undergirds much support for democratic political institutions. This same principle, however, undermines one central argument against a market economy—namely, the “People Over Profit” demand—while at the same time providing perhaps surprisingly strong reason to support a market economy. Moreover, several other arguments often adduced in favor of democracy seem, on examination, to support market economies at least as much as they support democracy. If any of these arguments are compelling, or even plausible, in marshaling support for democracy, then they support market economies as well. Many supporters of democracy might therefore find expression of at least some of their moral aims in market economies. I argue that on the basis of their own arguments, many supporters of democracy should be supporters of the market.

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