Economic Democracy

FEPS launches an initiative on Economic Democracy


The current economic system has concentrated power in the hands of the few and created record inequality. A new paradigm must be created.

FEPS in partnership with Open Society Foundations, has launched an initiative on Economic Democracy with the aim of exploring and spreading best practices and strategies to build people power in the economic domain. 

The initiative will study experiences of democratic transformation in economic, employment and public administration domains in order to understand the driving factors and successful strategies that result in the transfer of economic power to people – to build up a “theory of change” and to identify economic policy strategies that put economics at the service of the society.

On the conceptual side, some important questions that need to be addressed are the following:

  • What are the features of economic democracy? How do we distinguish democratic economic policies from the rest?
  • How to make economic policies transformative by changing power relations?
  • Who should drive the democratic economic transformation and how to organize it?
  • How should governments and public authorities adapt their processes to ensure more democratic oversight and participation in key socio-economic areas?

The main focus of the initiative will be however on the practice. A survey of economic democracy initiatives will be carried out to collect their experiences in the following areas.

Focus areas:

  • Democracy in public spending
  • Democracy at the Workplace
  • Democratizing public services
  • Democratizing urban planning

Why economic democracy?   

The multiple crises of today are inherently interlinked, reinforcing one another. Yet, in public debate they are often compartamentalised: the crisis of capitalism, the crisis of democracy, environmental crisis. In fact, they are very much intertwined. To many progressive thinkers, it is evident that the current capitalist system is a major cause of the democratic and environmental degradation. We will not be able to solve these crises without substantially revamping the capitalist market economy, probably replacing it by something conceptually different.  

The question is what concepts, institutions and political actions are required to enable us to move from an economy driven by a narrow self-interest of elite groups to an economy serving the common good. We contend it is economic democracy – a set of institutions and practices that produces a fair economic outcome, but also uses democratic processes to arrive at such results.

Notably, the new economic paradigm has to emerge through democratic processes. The question is how existing democratic processes and new democratic innovations can help foster the emergence of such a new paradigm.


In case you are interested in the topic, you have valuable experiences to share, or you wish to participate in events or are aware of a democratic initiative that can be included in the survey, please reach out to FEPS Economic Policy Analyst Anna Kolesnichenko at

Open Society Foundations
Find all related publications

Progressive Yearbook 2024

Looking back to look ahead

The macro-economic impact of the cost crisis

Lessons for Europe

Making trade work for prosperity, people and planet

FEPS Primers series - Arancha González and Yanis Bourgeois

Bidding farewell to workfare?

Recovery Watch series
Find all related events

Reinforcing European cohesion

New goals and tools to share prosperity in Europe
FEPS HQ (Expert meeting)

Progressive Economics Network

Towards a progressive toolbox to deal with inflation

Progressive Yearbook launch

Find all related news

FEPS President at Euronews talk-show ‘Brussels, my love?’


Economic Democracy

FEPS launches an initiative on Economic Democracy

Tax the rich

A European Citizens' Initiative

Call for tender – Researcher on inflation

This call for tender closed on 03/10/23
Find all related in the media
In the media

FEPS President at Euronews talk-show ‘Brussels, my love?’

by Euronews 15/01/2024
Panellists discussed topics including EU fiscal rules reform, German farmer's protests, and the decision of Charles Michel to quit his job early to run for MEP.

“Trade doesn’t work in isolation from good domestic policies” Interview to Arancha González

by Borderlex 19/09/2023
Interview to Arancha González, former Spanish foreign minister, who released together with FEPS the new book entitled 'The Trade Handbook: Making Trade Work for Prosperity, People and Planet'

A szociális unió imperatívusza

by Új Egyenlőség 09/09/2023
'The imperative of Social Union'. Article about FEPS book 'Europe’s Social Integration: Welfare Models and Economic Transformations' by László Andor.

Após 66 anos de adiamentos, a barragem do Pisão entrou em contra-relógio

by Pùblico 19/08/2023
'After 66 years of postponements, the Pisão dam has entered a race against time' Pùblico's article mentions FEPS Policy Study 'Governing the RRF'