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.
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.
In the past year, millions of people have been involved in discussions about health care reform, but have these been “civic conversations “? From shouting matches at town hall meetings, to White House summits., to hundreds of hours of television talk, to neighborhood discussions, to street demonstrations, the topic has elicited a variety of voices from different groups. For the most part, however, I think we have witnessed what one could call “social discussions” rather than “civic conversations.”