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On the complementarity of liberalism and democracy – a reading of F.A. Hayek and J.M. Buchanan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2008

VIKTOR J. VANBERG
Affiliation:
University of Freiburg and Walter Eucken Institute, Freiburg, Germany
Corresponding

Abstract

The principal claim of this paper is that liberalism and democracy are not only compatible ideals, as F.A. Hayek has suggested, but rather complementary ideals. The argument in support of this claim is based on a distinction between three different levels at which liberalism and democracy can be compared, the level of their institutional embodiment, the level of their principal ideals, and the level of their underlying normative premise. It is argued that liberalism and democracy share as their common normative foundation the principle of individual sovereignty, and that their respective core ideals, the liberal principle of private autonomy and the democratic principle of citizen sovereignty, can be best understood as applications of the ideal of individual sovereignty to the realm of the private law society on the one side and to the ‘public’ realm of collective-political choice on the other.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The JOIE Foundation 2008

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