Free Enterprise and Democracy Network

The Free Enterprise and Democracy Network (FEDN) was conceived to address a lack of private sector representation in global fora on democracy and to satisfy demand from a number of CIPE's long time partners for more interaction between like minded organizations. FEDN seeks to ensure that the private sector and advocates of economic freedom have a global voice in democratic reform as well as provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and mutual support among members. Through these activities FEDN hopes to spread a greater understanding of the linkages between economic freedom, prosperity, and democracy.

In addition to acting as a cooperative forum, FEDN endeavors to act as a global advocate for the importance of economic reform as an integral element of democratic development. At the core of FEDN's principles is the idea that democracy and a free market economy are mutually supportive systems. Furthermore, FEDN advocates that market institutions and rule of law create the necessary conditions for democratic governance. FEDN aims to engage champions of the private sector and civil society around the world to promote these ideals and to advocate for a greater role of the business community in democratic reform.

While CIPE facilitates the exchange of ideas and program approaches among its partners, FEDN will provide greater opportunities for consistent sharing of information and reform stories between organizations engaged in advancing market economies and democratic institutions.

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