Civilizing the Economy A New Economics of Provision

Disagreement, Dialogue and Creativity

Posted Jul 18, 2013 by Marvin Brown in The Civic, Uncategorized, No Comments

Has there ever been a greater need for creative ideas than today?  If you have been paying attention, you know that the current global economic system is already an unsustainable burden on the earth.  One indication among many:  The biosphere can handle 350 parts of carbon per million, in 2011 we were at 392, and in 2013, at 400.  The gradual destruction of the planet, of course, is not the whole story.  We are also flooded with a multitude of ideas and experiments in developing sustainable communities.  Still, when we look at global economic trends, too often we see those in power using these good ideas to improve things, but not to change them.  Maybe it is naïve to expect much more from people in positions of privilege.  Still, using creative ideas to improve current systems is like adding gasoline to a fire.  We have had about as much “creative destruction” as we can take.  We need some creative transformation. Perhaps we can better grasp the necessary conditions for such transformation by thinking about the relationship between creativity and disagreement.

The Common Citizen

Posted Dec 4, 2012 by Marvin Brown in The Civic, No Comments

We are now living in the time of new thinking about our selves, our human relationships, and our relationships with the planet.   Everything that we hold dear, everything we hold in common, is threatened.  Perhaps the notion of the common citizen will be helpful.

The Civic, the Commons and the Social

Posted May 1, 2012 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, 4 Comments

Say I am walking down a street in a large city and come across a homeless person on the sidewalk, and I ask myself if that could have been my fate.  If I think that I could have been that person—except for different circumstances—then we share a common humanity.  Our differences are basically social.  If I say that I would never become such a person, then I take our social differences—class, race, religion, and so on—as essential. We have nothing in common. 

Disagreement, Ownership, and Language

Posted Jan 29, 2012 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, No Comments

In memory of W. Barnett Pearce

A commonsense way of thinking about disagreements is that they arise when people have opposing opinions, they have an invested interest in maintaining them, and they have to make a decision.  In this framework, our positions are seen as things we own—as our property.

Civic Liberty vs. Property Liberty

Posted Jan 9, 2011 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, 1 Comment

Libertarians come in different stripes, and the differences largely depend on their foundation.  Some have their origin in the peculiar Anglo-American tradition of grounding liberty in property.  Some others see liberty as a civic right guaranteed by the Constitution.

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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