Civilizing the Economy A New Economics of Provision

Living like a Common Citizen

Posted Jan 18, 2013 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, No Comments

What would it be like to live the life of a common citizen?  I think it would include the following activities:

Participating

The civic is the space between our common humanity and our social differences.  We are invited by others, and by the urgency of problems, to participate in this space through civic conversations about how we want to live together.

Caring

Today is possible because others have cared for us; taken care of us.  Without caring relationships, we easily lose track of our common humanity.  To be full of care (careful) requires that all the providers of care are recognized.

Sharing

What we do share (a common humanity) is the basis for what we decide to share (provisions, gifts, love).

Working

There’s so much work to be done.  All who have the capacity to work are needed.  Work should not be controlled by the business job market, but rather by the needs of people and the planet.

Appreciating

We are the inheritors of the earth, of knowledge, of the arts, of all that makes the commons a resource for all of us.

Protecting

Our planet—a home for all living things—is now threatened.  It must be protected.  Many of our communities—a home for families and friends—are crying out for justice and repair. They must be protected.

Organizing

Together we can hold elected officials accountable to the people they represent, and we can hold all institutions accountable for their violations of justice and environmental sustainability.

Providing

Through civic conversations, we can develop systems of provision so all of us have the basic provisions for a good life, not at the expense of some, but rather at the advantage of all.

Protesting

The violations of justice and sustainability, of all the “isms” that should not be practiced with impunity, must be protested against.

Disagreeing

Without disagreement, we have no reason to engage in conversations.  We simply do what we all believe is right, not knowing if it is right or not.  Disagreement is the beginning of ethics—of a life worth living.

Changing

If we have not changed our minds, we have not been paying attention.  There is no universal site from which we can know it all, but rather only particular places where others can tell us what we do not know.   To enter into a civic conversation is to enter into a chamber of self-transformation.

Fearing

Like horses and deer that existed on the savanna, we are fear-based animals.  It is part of what we have in common.  Living like a common citizen means that we try to focus this fear on real things we should be afraid of.

Continuing

The struggle for moral equality and inclusion has a history.  In the short history of the U.S., it includes the struggles to expand citizenship beyond white male ownership, the Civil War, the struggles for women’s rights, for worker’s rights, the Civil Rights movement, and current struggles for justice and sustainability. The common citizen continues this tradition and passes it on to the next generation.

 

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