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.

This was certainly the view Adam Smith expressed in his The Wealth of Nations.  His four stages of history allowed him to see himself as a member of commercial society, living in a more advanced time than the American natives, who lived in an earlier time of development–the time of hunting.  On the other hand, if we take the view of our grandchildren, and look back on ourselves, we see that all of us living today are now creating the possibilities for future generations to take care of themselves.   We may not live in the same past, but we do live with the same future.   The question is how should we integrate, if we can, our separate pasts and our common future?

To integrate differences is a much more complex process than the integration of similarities, especially differences that have moral significance.  As we follow the development of the United States strategy in Afghanistan, where we both kill and talk with the Taliban, it is unclear what the basis for integration really is.   Or is it?

We need a civic consciousness that allows us to tolerate different pasts, but also allows us to talk about a common future.  Central is this civic consciousness is moral equality.  Moral equality does not mean that we share the same moral beliefs, but that we recognize each other as having equal moral worth.  And perhaps more importantly for the future, we recognize that each of us belongs to this generation: the generation that will create the possibilities for all of our grandchildren to have a good life.  The real question is whether we can talk with each other about a future that includes all our children and grandchildren.  This would be a future that provides for everyone, protects the providers, and celebrates the meaning of living together.

16 Responses to “Civic Consciousness as Belonging to this Generation”

  1. consultant says:

    May 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    The economy is so bad, a picture is only worth 200 words these we can still afford to laugh a little, right?
  2. dental hygienist says:

    June 12, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    What a great resource!
  3. WP Themes says:

    June 22, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Amiable post and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.
  4. Consignment Shop says:

    June 28, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Hello,I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.
  5. Smokeless Cigarettes says:

    July 12, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Im not going to say what anyone else has currently stated, but I do desire to comment in your understanding of the theme. Youre absolutely well-informed. I cant feel how a lot of this I just wasnt conscious of. Thank you for bringing additional facts to this theme for me. Im actually grateful and definitely impressed.
  6. smokeless cigarettes says:

    July 13, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Great to be going to your weblog again, it's got been months for me. Effectively this piece of writing that i've been waited for so long. I will need this piece of writing to total my assignment in the college, and it's got similar subject with your article. Thank you, good share.
  7. dentist in brooklyn says:

    July 20, 2010 at 3:33 am

    a super blog if i ever read one. If you are the type to update your site daily, then you have gained one daily reader in me today. Please keep up the powerul work.
  8. E cigarettes says:

    July 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I wish you under no circumstances stop! This is among the best blogs Ive actually read. Youve gained some mad skill listed here, guy. I just hope that you just dont drop your type because youre undoubtedly 1 of the coolest bloggers on the market. Please continue to keep it up due to the fact the net demands an individual like you spreading the word.
  9. Lakia Marolda says:

    August 8, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    wow amazing write-ups
  10. Tandblekning says:

    August 31, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    This is my first time visiting your site. I do envy you since you seem to get a lot more comments then I do. Do you have any secret tips on how I can get more comments or do I just have to be paitent? Anyway, keep up the good work.
  11. Bleichen says:

    September 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Hi there, really informative blog post ! waiting for more from you :) Going to subs.
  12. sindy says:

    October 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

    As usual, tons of stupid comments. People, why are you writing in comments - good site, great article, thanks author?
  13. whiten my teeth says:

    October 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    would it be possible to translate your website into spanish because i have difficulties of speaking to english, and as there are not many pictures on your website i would like to read more of what you are writting
  14. Software Cadence says:

    October 28, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Hola, Dear journalist! I am Maria from Holland and I am Librarian. You wrote a long post, I am added it to my Mozilla Firefox rss blog reader. Part of your issue interesting for my site members. I want add your thing to my forum. Can i to do that, if I place a link-back to your great website ? I found your skillful post in the yahoo .. Looks like your very good wordpress blog have five dozens friends at your superb weblog now, true event for every editor.
  15. sailing knife says:

    December 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Just discovered your site on google but it's a pity that you're not rated higher as this is a good post. To change i decided to save your site in order to my personal Rss readers as well as I'll try to mention a person in a single of my personal posts since you genuinely deserv more readers when posting content material of the high quality.
  16. framed posters cheap says:

    December 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    There's discussion about economic recovery like it was a good thing. The last thing we want is to go back to how we were, with the banks in charge because they're the only money supply. We need to end that monopoly and have a publicly-owned money supply.

Leave a Reply


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.

Adam Smith Atlantic trade banks biosphere citizen Citizens United city civic civic conversations civic economy civic membership civilizing the economy common citizen Commons corporate citizen corporation as property corporations democracy disagreement economics of dissociation economics of provision Egypt future health care reform invisible hand John Locke Kant libertarianism membership money moral equality ownership property property relations protection reciprocity Scotland slavery Smith and slavery Smithian economics sustainability taxes the civic tobacco trade Wall Street

Cambridge University Press
Local Bookstores
Barnes & Noble