Civilizing the Economy A New Economics of Provision

What Libertarians could learn from the US Election

Posted Nov 14, 2016 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, No Comments

Considering the results of this election, there is lots to learn. I think that libertarians could learn that if you don’t include the repair of the past in your plans for the future, it is likely to bite you in the pants.

The futurist Buckminster Fuller famously said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” How does that advice look now? It looks like the advice of someone who suffers from social amnesia.

Libertarians are wont to ignore how they got to where they are. They tend to ignore their social location and how their location is related to the location of others. Well, I think this election demonstrates that we pay a high price for wearing such social blinders.

There are a myriad of reasons why Trump won, but few of them have to do with the decisions of insolated, unencumbered, individuals. Most of the reasons refer us to relations among different social groups, and to the social expectations of individuals.

We all want some place—“My place”—and we know, for the most part, our place in terms of others. When all the social places are changing, we need to change as well, and we need some help in negotiating our movement from where we were to where we want to be.

Our social world (and natural world) is changing, and I think we need to work on models that move us from the past to the future, rather than pretend that the past does not exist.

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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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