Economic Freedom as Political Virtue: An Insight from the Perspective of Value Pluralism

Oles Andriychuk

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This paper considers the market process as the essence and intrinsic core of liberal democracy. It disentangles market means from welfare ends and recognises the importance, constitutional status and independent stand of the former. Freedom is placed in the same categories as rights. Each constitutional right is protected not because it is efficient, useful or self-executable. On the contrary, rights are protected as a matter of evolutionary choice, as a matter of public principle, as an ethical rather than a practical value.Economic freedom usually leads to success. Its successfulness however sometimes transforms into its biggest enemy. Economic prosperity is a category which can find supporters more rapidly than the notion of economic freedom does. Therefore the latter is often perceived as a means to reach former. The main argument of this paper is that freedom itself loses its internal legitimacy if it is constantly subordinated to the tangible outcomes which it can eventually generate. Freedom can generate welfare, indeed, but welfare maximisation is neither an unconditional nor a quintessential feature of freedom. Freedom must be perceived as a driving force for entrepreneurial discovery, and a prerequisite to democracy, rather than as a mere component of the economic success. Freedom cannot be seen as purely rational, predictable and calculable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-144
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Legal Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

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