At a recent session on Socio-Economics in Berkeley, I argued that a civic economy would be superior to our current property-based economy because it would include everyone. A participant asked if I thought that civic membership should be voluntary or forced. Given the two choices, I said forced. On further reflection, I think the question was a set-up. A better question is whether everyone belongs to the civic or not.
- To allow global financial markets to control global politics
- To ignore the limits of a consumer economy
- To continue to feed our military machine
- To assume that the Tea Party is half right
- To not talk about race
- To allow corporate control of electoral politics
- To ignore the potential of a civic democracy
- To pretend that we are better than everyone else
- To try to improve the old story instead of telling a new story
- To pretend that the economy is like a basketball game
The conversation about the role of corporations in electoral politics (the Vermont proposal for a Constitutional Amendment that denies the status of “person” to corporations is a recent example) has largely focused on what corporations are not (not persons and not citizens) as a way of getting then out of electoral politics. One can also talk about where they belong by looking at what they are. In Civilizing the Economy, I list four key aspects of corporations.
Sometimes the health care reform debate appears to be limited to two options: libertarianism or socialism. There are more options. Just as there are two different kinds of libertarianism: property based and civic based, one could also speak of a property and a civic socialism.
A commonly expressed hope following the tragedy in Tucson is that our public discourse will become more civil. President Obama’s speech certainly called on all of us to reflect on our common values and to make our democratic practices as good as those imagined by the 9 year old Christina Green. I don’t think we could have expected more from our national leader, or should he have asked less from us. The question is whether this event will save us from the deep alienation in our land.