Free Enterprise and Democracy Network

The Free Enterprise and Democracy Network (FEDN) aims to promote the economic underpinnings of democratic transition and bring private sector voices into global discourse on democracy. The network provides a mechanism for private sector leaders and advocates of economic freedom across the world to exchange ideas and support, and make the case for democratic, prosperous societies.

FEDN’s experts advise and provide technical assistance on market reform in democratic transitions. They also participate in global fora such as the World Movement for Democracy and the Community of Democracies, where they help to frame understanding of priority issues concerning democracy and development. Finally, the network shares successes, lessons, and challenges in democratic and market reform.

Objectives

  • Ensure that the private sector and advocates of economic freedom have a voice is democratic reform globally
  • Spread a greater understanding of the linkages between economic freedom, prosperity, and democracy
  • Engage champions of the private sector and civil society in dialogue and advocacy to strengthen democracy and foster a positive business environment
  • Provide a forum for exchange of ideas and mutual support among members

Principles of Free Enterprise & Democracy

  1. Economic freedom is an essential source of political freedom as well as a component of individual liberty
    • Political freedom depends on freedom in economic life and the limitation of political power over the economy.
    • Openness, competition, and choice are shared features of a market economy and democracy.
    • A market economy allows pluralism to flourish. A competitive private sector provides a counterweight to the state, creates opportunities for citizens, and makes possible a vibrant civil society.
  2. Market institutions and the rule of law build foundations for democratic governance
    • Market institutions and democratic institutions establish shared rules of the game and equality of opportunity.
    • A market economy and democracy share values such as fairness, transparency, participation, and accountability.
    • The rule of law simultaneously promotes the functioning of a market economy while underpinning free political competition. The rule of law protects the rights of all citizens and guarantees commitments.
    • Property rights not only create a framework for prosperity, they place constraints on government action, bolster civil rights, and support the development of democratic institutions.
  3. Democracy brings long-run benefits to sustainable growth and human development
    • Democracy and a market economy have mutually reinforcing effects.
    • While democracy possesses intrinsic value as a goal, it is also a means to a better business environment and thus to growth and prosperity.
    • Democracy is important to self-realization of individuals and an improved quality of life.
    • Democracy provides checks on the abuse of authority and creates channels to improve economic policy through representation and feedback.
  4. The private sector plays an essential role in the development of a democratic society
    • The private sector—from small to large businesses—has rights and responsibilities as a key segment of society.
    • Private sector participation in policy discourse provides independent voices of reform, contributes to effective policymaking, and enlarges the constituency for democracy.
    • Business has a stake in democracy. The middle class and business organizations often lead the way in demanding freedom and holding government accountable.
    • Spreading responsible practices throughout the economy serves to bolster responsibility in the political system.
Publication Type: 

CIPE

Center for International Private Enterprise
1155 15th Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: 202-721-9200    Fax: 202-721-9250