Civilizing the Economy A New Economics of Provision

The Commercial and the Civic

Posted Aug 31, 2010 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, 12 Comments

One way of seeing the choice we face in this coming election is a choice between the commercial and the civic.  The following chart highlights some of the differences.

The Commercial The Civic

Key value

Ownership

Membership

The development of the civic

When our country was founded, only property owners could vote, the commercial dominated the civic In time, we changed to citizenship, not ownership, as the criterion for voting
The basis of our life together Property relations Human relations
The role of government To protect property and property owners To protect citizens and civic rights
The role of public administration The management of property; guided by the criteria of efficiency The organization of people, guided by civic norms of reciprocity and moral equality
The purpose of business To make a profit To provide goods and services

The misery of workers

Ignores them as belonging to another “world” and focuses on trading of commodities. Includes them as citizens of same generation

The environment

Treats the biosphere as property. Ignores what cannot be priced. Treats the biosphere as a living system that needs protection.

Meaning of citizenship

Increase property accumulation

A ”productive” person

Participate in civic conversations

An “engaged” person

View of elections The advertising of one’s “property” (what I can do for you.) The advertising of one’s capacity to represent the hopes of citizens (What we can do together.)
How to win elections Similar to selling products: more advertising increases sales Similar to winning debates: better reasons increase support

  • · See: Civilizing the Economy: A New Economics of Provision (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

12 Responses to “The Commercial and the Civic”

  1. Mark says:

    September 7, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Very nice! The boxes are very small, so you obviously can't fit everything, but even so, I'm not sure about defining the "role of government" in terms of "protection." That is close to what the Declaration of Independence says -- "to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men" -- but some people think government should go beyond protecting rights to promoting various collective goals. For example, I'm not sure that everyone has a "right" to a college education, at least not in the same way that everyone has a right to food and shelter. But I'd probably say that government should promote college education for those who both want it and qualify for it. The bigger point is that both "the civic" and "the commercial" can be understood in various ways, and a chart like this might obscure as much as it reveals. Of course, all charts do that.
  2. Marvin Brown says:

    September 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Setting up choices always clarifies and simplifies. Still, when as make concrete choices (Meg Whitman or Jerry Brown for governor of California) we also make abstract choices (commercial or civic), which both clarifies and simplifies the every day reality we face. Thanks for your reflections.
  3. weighty says:

    September 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    gonna send this to my mom
  4. bloom energy stock symbol says:

    October 10, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Lol! I love it!
  5. contemporary art paintings new york says:

    October 13, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I would love to write and say what a great job you did on this, as you have put a lot of work into it.
  6. headphones says:

    October 13, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Bunches of real, tough to acquire information here. Discovered this blog article by accident on Bing. You're really getting me rehash my view about this material and seldom does that happen to me... LOL. Thanks!
  7. good online games says:

    October 14, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Excellent blog! I definitely love how it's easy on my eyes and the facts are well written. I am wondering how I may be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which should do the trick! Have a nice day!
  8. Chakrapanye says:

    October 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Relatively article. I just stumbled upon your blog combined with wanted to tell that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed or I hope you review repeatedly rapidly.
  9. on sale 2010 says:

    October 18, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I was just browsing for relevant blog posts for my project research and I happened to stumble upon yours. Thanks for the useful information!
  10. The Solar Panel Dude says:

    October 25, 2010 at 2:04 am

    This really is a really excellent piece of writing, while I was reading through this I could not help but agree with you. I am going to put your site to my personal set of bookmarks and i look ahead to reading through your other posts. Continue the good work, this is among the better blogs online.
  11. Leigh Tsantakis says:

    October 28, 2010 at 1:13 am

    what a great post!
  12. HomemadeSolarHeating says:

    May 31, 2011 at 9:57 am

    homemadesolarpanel... A thoughtful information and ideas I will use on my blog. You have obviously spent some time on this. Congratulations!...

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 workingethics.com 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
Amazon
Barnes & Noble