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Freedom and Democracy in a Property Rights Regime: The Case of the American Company Town

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Abstract:

What is the relationship between property rights, freedom, and democracy? Traditional theorists have focused on property rights as the cornerstone of democratic government and free society, while critics have countered that the promotion of property rights limits the expression of those ideals. This paper historicizes the debate, focusing on the American company town as a property-rights regime. The paper argues that property rights in this setting were decisive in limiting freedom and democracy in ways that public towns typically did not. That is, company-owned towns operated apart from the legal and political restraints that tethered nineteenth century municipalities however imperfectly to more democratic forms and outcomes. In contrast, profit maximizing company town owners arbitrarily regulated whatever aspects of life they thought necessary, and were typically free from public restraint.

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compani (150), town (141), pullman (68), regul (57), public (52), power (47), resid (39), govern (34), corpor (32), communiti (32), properti (32), author (31), privat (31), american (28), live (28), lowel (26), see (25), centuri (25), polici (24), press (22), hous (22),

Author's Keywords:

property rights, democracy, company town, regulation, police powers, privatization
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Name: Western Political Science Association
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http://www.csus.edu/ORG/WPSA/


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MLA Citation:

Horn, Steven. "Freedom and Democracy in a Property Rights Regime: The Case of the American Company Town" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association, Marriott Hotel, Portland, Oregon, Mar 07, 2004 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p87866_index.html>

APA Citation:

Horn, S. , 2004-03-07 "Freedom and Democracy in a Property Rights Regime: The Case of the American Company Town" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association, Marriott Hotel, Portland, Oregon Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p87866_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: What is the relationship between property rights, freedom, and democracy? Traditional theorists have focused on property rights as the cornerstone of democratic government and free society, while critics have countered that the promotion of property rights limits the expression of those ideals. This paper historicizes the debate, focusing on the American company town as a property-rights regime. The paper argues that property rights in this setting were decisive in limiting freedom and democracy in ways that public towns typically did not. That is, company-owned towns operated apart from the legal and political restraints that tethered nineteenth century municipalities however imperfectly to more democratic forms and outcomes. In contrast, profit maximizing company town owners arbitrarily regulated whatever aspects of life they thought necessary, and were typically free from public restraint.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 24
Word count: 8091
Text sample:
Freedom and Democracy in a Property Rights Regime: The Case of the American Company Town Steven Horn University of Southern California Department of Political Science Los Angeles CA 90089-0044 shorn@usc.edu Prepared for delivery at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association Portland Marriott Hotel Portland Oregon March 2004 1 What is the relationship between property rights freedom and democracy? Traditional theorists have focused on property rights as the cornerstone of democratic government and free society while
to make rules and structure the lives of those residing in their company towns. Despite the warts public towns held elections where company towns did not; the former permitted a wide array of speech whereas company town governance stifled free expression and association to every possible extent. The company town then stands as a noteworthy case in point that not every given structure of property rights will necessarily lead to more freedom or more democracy and that property rights


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