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Workers' Participation in the United States: Catholic Social Teaching and Democratic Theory

S. J. Philip and J. Chmielewski

Review of Social Economy, 1997, vol. 55, issue 4, 487-508

Abstract: Workers' participation has stirred renewed interest because of recent economic and political transformation. The article presents workplace participation as key in maintaining democratic values. The tenth anniversary of Economic Justice for Allprovides the occasion to reexamine its social ethical arguments for workplace participation. The weight of those arguments is assessed in light of: their wide, antecedent background in theory and practice manifested in both the U.S. and Germany, the modern effectiveness of works' councils, and the extension of the ethical arguments in more recent Catholic social teaching. The article examines the theological and philosophical principles of Economic Justice for Allas they bear on economic participation. Central to these arguments is the fostering of free personal activity within a diverse, institutionally plural society. Toward society's common good, economic participation directs productive and service activites. The traditional category of subsidiarity offers a channel along which contemporary democratic analysis can invigorate the social teaching tradition, namely, in highlighting the functions of communication, information transfer, and education within cooperative activity. Such cooperation addresses the gap in structures of representation as well as the ethical requirement of secured expression. Workers' participation effectively represents and sustains democratic culture.

Keywords: codetermination; common good; economic democracy; Economic Justice for All; German social thought; subsidiarity; works councils; workers' participation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1997
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DOI: 10.1080/00346769700000019

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Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:55:y:1997:i:4:p:487-508