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Freedom and Work

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If you haven’t yet seen it, Corey Robin, Chris Bertram, and Alex Gourevich have a magnificent, epic post at CT on freedom and the workplace in the context of an ongoing conversation with the bleeding heart libertarians blog. I won’t bother to excerpt it; it’s all good, read the whole thing, etc etc.

One good way to conceptualize the massive blind spot of the BHL crowd here is their insistence on focusing on government rather than governance. Employers are engaged in a form of governance. Governance, as libertarians constantly remind us in other contexts, is a dangerous thing indeed; far too dangerous for a exit right that often amounts to empty formalism to manage. The particular nature of the dangers of corporate workplace governance are obviously somewhat different than the governance of governments, and as such the particular form of democratic control ought to reflect that difference. The Elizabeth Anderson post on BHL I recently linked to made a similar point well: “a more illuminating conceptual map would identify government with any organization in which some people systematically issue authoritative commands, backed up by penalties, to others.”

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