Civilizing the Economy A New Economics of Provision

Civic Consciousness as Belonging to this Generation

Posted May 24, 2010 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, 16 Comments

Sometimes, others seem to belong to another time.  When we try to understand religious fundamentalists, for example, it is easy to apply a temporal framework.  They talk as though modern science, or humanistic research never occurred.  They deny historical and literary criticism. They remind us of what we learned about early periods in Western history, such as the middle ages, before the eighteenth century enlightenment.  It doesn’t seem that we all belong to the same generation—to this generation.

Adam Smith’s silence

Posted May 21, 2010 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, 4 Comments

Calling Adam Smith’s treatment of slavery in CTE his “silence” about slavery is really a polite way of exposing his cover-up of the role of slavery in the creation of the wealth that he enjoyed.  I admit that at various times Smith did say things about slavery in his book on the causes of wealth, The Wealth of Nations, but not when he was writing about the causes of wealth.

What goes with what?

Posted May 14, 2010 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, 12 Comments

Some words belong together, and some do not.  Most of us would not have any problem, for example, with the idea of a “church party,” but some might.  Kenneth Burke called our notions of what-goes-to-what our piety.  He believed that we are all pious to the degree that some paring of terms irritates us and some do not.

Just because something irritates us does not make it wrong.  Irritation is more of a clue to reflect than to stay with our initial judgments.  This actually works both ways.  Sometimes we have become so comfortable with the paring of different words that we fail to see that they don’t really fit together.  Then we need someone to irritate us.  One paring that seems to be on the way from irritation to a fairly comfortable notion is the idea of a corporate citizen.  Ok, I have to confess, I still find the joining of “corporate” and “citizen” somewhat irritating.

Connecting the Dots

Posted May 8, 2010 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, 9 Comments

How about this as a TV game show:  “Connect the Dots.”  For example, how would you connect the fabulous salaries of professional athletics with the deterioration of our public schools?

A future Hall of Fame linebacker for the 49ers just signed a multi-year contract for as much as 50 million dollars.  This was announced in the same paper that has continually reported on cutbacks and layoffs in our public schools.  So, what’s the connection?

Marvin T. Brown, Ph.D teaches business and organizational ethics at the University of San Francisco and Saybrook University in San Francisco.

This book is the culmination of 30 years of teaching and writing on business and society from a communicative perspective. Visit for more information.

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