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Perestroika, Economic Freedom and Moral Agency: Marxism, Economics and Legality

Leslie Armour (University of Ottawa, Canada)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 1 May 1991



Changes in Eastern Europe raise two sorts of questions: What is the relation between political, economic and moral autonomy? And is the economic system basic in that a change in it will bring about the necessary reforms, or does change depend on political or legal reform? One can abolish central planning and not create systems prey to the objection that market economies turn labour into a commodity, exclude too many people from effective participation in the system, and threaten the world through their endless expansion? It is argued that legal systems provide basic and necessary conditions which exert a profound influence on the shape of economic systems, that failure of legality in the Soviet Union made economic disaster inevitable, and that the rise of capitalism itself depended on legal forms. Some ideas of property and legality in early modern European thought are explored. Francisco Suárez grounded claims to freedom on the fact that each of us possesses a will before we ever come into contact with the law. We therefore have a right to freedom which is more fundamental than any system. But Suárez limited intrusions on freedom to the promulgated laws of a bona fide juridical community. He thus helped shape notions of private property. By developing such notions we may see how an economy can be efficient without doing violence to morality.



Armour, L. (1991), "Perestroika, Economic Freedom and Moral Agency: Marxism, Economics and Legality", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 18 No. 5/6/7, pp. 83-97.




Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited

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