The Emancipatory Liberalism of Steven Horwitz: The Case of Women's Economic Status

Originally published in Journal of Private Enterprise

A distinguishing feature of Steven Horwitz's career was his emphasis upon the emancipatory character of economic liberalism and market activity. Market environments supported by liberal institutions, such as property rights, contractual freedom, and the rule of law, have not only facilitated material progress but corroded social stratification and promoted the welfare of oppressed and disadvantaged peoples. This paper articulates three complementary mechanisms through which economic liberalism serves emancipatory functions: inclusive entrepreneurship; accommodative changes in capital and production structures; and institutions facilitating market entry and social inclusion. Horwitz's emancipatory liberalism is illustrated with regard to historical and contemporary experiences of women's rights.

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