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Social Equality and the Corporate Governance of a Property-Owning Democracy

Wilesmith, J; (2015) Social Equality and the Corporate Governance of a Property-Owning Democracy. Revista Diacrítica , 29 (2) pp. 87-107. Green open access

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Abstract

In recent years, a number of theorists have argued that Rawls's vision of a property-owning democracy seems like a promising way to institutionalise an ideal of social equality. In this paper, I distinguish two economic aims that appear central to these accounts of social equality: widespread security and control. I then argue that, insofar as Rawls's property-owning democracy retains many large-scale corporations, it is poorly placed to realise these two economic aims unless it is supplemented with an adequate regime of corporate governance. I go on to assess three possible regimes of corporate governance for a property-owning democracy: (1) investment fund activism; (2) worker-managed firms; and (3) labour-capital partnerships. I argue that all three regimes offer different trade-offs between widespread economic security and control; however, there are social egalitarian reasons – albeit of a provisional nature – to see regime (3) as a superior option to regimes (1) and (2). / Nos últimos anos, uma série de teóricos tem argumentado que a visão de Rawls de uma democracia de proprietários parece ser uma maneira promissora de institucionalizar um ideal de igualdade social. Neste artigo, faço a distinção entre dois objetivos económicos que parecem importantes em termos de igualdade social: a generalização da segurança e do controlo. Defendo então que, na medida em que a democracia de proprietários de Rawls permite manter muitas grandes empresas, é incapaz de concretizar estes dois objetivos económicos exceto se for complementada com um regime adequado de governo das empresas. Prossigo avaliando três possíveis regimes de governo das empresas para uma democracia de proprietários: (1) ativismo de fundos de investimento; (2) empresas geridas pelos trabalhadores; e (3) parcerias trabalho/capital. Defendo que estes três regimes oferecem diferentes trade-offs entre a segurança económica e o controlo generalizados; porém, há razões sociais e igualitárias – embora de natureza provisória – para ver o regime (3) como uma opção superior aos regimes (1) e (2).

Type: Article
Title: Social Equality and the Corporate Governance of a Property-Owning Democracy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.scielo.mec.pt/scielo.php?script=sci_art...
Language: English
Additional information: Todo o conteúdo deste periódico, exceto onde está identificado, está licenciado sob uma Licença Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.pt).
Keywords: property-owning democracy; social equality; corporate governance; labour-capital partnerships; labour-managed firms; investment fund activism; democracia de proprietários; igualdade social; governo das empresas; parcerias trabalho/capital; empresas geridas pelos trabalhadores; ativismo de fundos de investimento
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10087688
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