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Spring 2013
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 28, Number 2

European Corporatism and Freedom of Association

Barbara Kolm, University of Donja Gorica - Hayek Institut
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TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise28(2),2013,3956EuropeanCorporatismandFreedomofAssociationBarbaraKolmUniversityofDonjaGoricaHayekInstitutAbstractThispaperexaminestheprincipleoffreedomofassociationandthethreatposedbyEuropeancorporatism.AlthoughtheprincipleiscodifiedintheEUsCharterofFundamentalRights,importantexceptionsareallowed.Thesecaneasilyencompassavarietyofsituations.RecentevidencesuggeststhattheEUmaybeattemptingtoapplysuchexceptionsasitexpandsitsadministrativeandbureaucraticapparatusacrossEurope.Additionally,manyEuropeanstatesreflectaheartyembraceofcorporatismtheveryantithesisoffreedomofassociationinsteadofremainingopentothearrangementsthatproducedgrowthinthefirstplace:voluntaryassociation,laborflexibility,andmarketforces.ThisisnotbecausetheyhavebeengivenamandatebythegeneralwillofthepeoplebutbecausecorporatismbenefitstheinterlockinginterestsofEuropesbigunions,bigindustries,bigfinancialinstitutions,andbigemployerconfederations.Corporatismbenefitsthefewoverthemanyanddampensmarketcompetition.Butitresultsinuncompetitivecompaniesandlethargicindustries,andleadstofewerindividualrights,lessentrepreneurialfreedomandaviolationofthefundamentalprincipleoffreedomofassociation.JELCodes:J51,P4Keywords:Corporatism;Freedomofassociation;TradeunionsI.IntroductionTheideaoffreedomofassociationbegantoemergeasaprincipleworthdefendinginMedievalEurope.Thiswasnotsomucharesultofanyconsciouspoliticalmovementtowardsgreaterfreedomasitwasaproductofpeoplesimplyvotingwiththeirfeet.”Europewasacontinentofhundredsofsmallterritoriesduringthemedievalperiodifagiventerritorydidnotsatisfytheindividualslivinginit,theycouldsimplymovetoanother.Thus,rulersofterritorieshadanincentivetogivetheirsubjectscertainfreedomsandprivilegessuch39
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