A Civil Economy
Transforming the Marketplace in the Twenty-First Century
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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In January 1995 I spoke in Mexico City before the first plenary meeting of CIVICUS, the pioneering alliance that seeks to nurture and sustain global society. It was a heady and optimistic moment for individuals in the nonprofit and nongovernmental world. Capitalism had vanquished communism, democracy had triumphed over autocracy, in essence, Tocqueville had defeated Marx. Of course, massive problems remained––poverty, disease, illiteracy, powerlessness––and we were all deeply aware of them. But most people believed that these ancient afflictions would be...
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The University of Michigan Press is pleased to offer A Civil Economy: Transforming the Market in the Twenty-First Century as the second volume in its series Evolving Values for a Capitalist World. The series, edited by Neva R. Goodwin, Co-director of the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, is based on the following beliefs. Capitalism is the socioeconomic system that will prevail for the foreseeable future, not only because it appears to be an irresistible force, but also because...
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People are talking about the idea of civil society but do not see its relationship to the market economy. Is there such a thing—could there be such a thing—as a civil economy? The purpose of this book is to explore that relationship, to examine the civil underpinnings of capitalism. We will investigate the way a civil economy develops, embedded as it is within civil society. Over the centuries, philosophers have debated the idea of civil society. The idea was gradually deμned with...
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The framework for this book has been forming in my mind for many decades. I have spent time in corporate research as well as consulting with μrms for over 30 years, but this particular book was inspired by the Boston Coalition for a Strong United Nations. This coalition is a group of over 90 nongovernmental organizations that have been holding conferences at the Kennedy Library on local-to-global issues. The idea for the book began when this coalition organized a Task Force on International Business and then a regional...
Part I. An Evolving Economy
1. The Moral Economy
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The idea of civil society began with philosophers centuries ago, but today this classic idea is interpreted in a fresh fashion around the world. Advocates of civil society in fallen communist countries revived the idea out of the ashes of communism. They wanted to build an alternative to communism and capitalism, believing that “civil society” could signal an advanced phase of freedom, democracy, and justice. For them, a new deμnition of civil society required a different way of thinking about the economy. The economy needed to function justly and fairly apart...
2. Systems of Accountability
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In the preface and in chapter 1, we asked how a market economy could be related to the idea of civil society and a moral order. We noted that Adam Smith conceived the market to be a self-regulating system operating for the common good, but in the succeeding generation the organization of corporations went against much of what he had imagined as a civil economy. Now in this chapter we will show that the social idea...
3. A Community-Oriented Economy
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The loss of local self-determination in the face of the growing power of global markets is evident around the world, but civic leaders could reverse that trend. Local civic leaders and global corporate executives have an interest in creating social capital, that is, those kinds of cooperative relationships that result in efficiency and profitability. Local and global leaders both view cooperation as essential to their interests...
Part II. A Developing Economy
4. A Theory of Civil Privatization
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Patricia Annez, chief of the Urban Development Division of the World Bank, speaks of an increase in privatization worldwide. She says that national and local governments are unable to meet both “social and infrastructure needs” on their own, hence, many are turning to the private sector to manage and/or finance their infrastructure...
5. The Practice of Civil Privatization
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Now that we have seen the arguments for privatization and the social problems that result from conventional practice and we have developed the rudiments of a theory to solve these problems, we can look more closely at the civil alternatives. Our contention is that privatization is made legitimate and possible by financial studies...
6. Civil Associations
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In this chapter, we argue that the internalization of social costs is an activity performed best by associations in the private sector. Public standards for fair competition, safety, health, and transparency can be established in associations where members agree on rules of the game. As this rule-making activity develops, the private economy should become a more public affair where essential norms are held in common and exchange systems are designed to be as open as possible. The economy...
Part III. A Global Economy
7. Problems in Global Markets
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After the collapse of communism, free trade became the mantra of governments and businesses around the world. Since 1991 some 600 changes have been made in the regulatory regimes of countries worldwide to make them more open to foreign trade and investment. The global reach of business markets, however, has given rise to fears that decision-making powers are passing from governments to...
8. Toward a Global Civil Economy
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Every nation in the world has found it necessary to regulate markets to protect consumers, workers, and the public, but there are no plans to regulate the global market. After World War II, some authors spoke of creating a democratic world federal government in order to inaugurate the rule of enforceable law. Grenville Clark and Louis B. Sohn’s plan, World Peace through World Law (1958), was typical of such ambitious plans. But this idea is not supported widely because...
Appendix: Great Ideas in the Academy
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Philosophers μrst defined civil society as government, and then later Adam Smith identified it as a system of business. Now, scholars identify civil society as the Third Sector, not typified by government or business. Hence, our task has been to examine how all three sectors coexist in society. This task has brought us to view the economy from a broad perspective. This appendix is provided for those readers who want to look at this broad perspective in a way that points toward future studies on the economy. Today it is popular to think of....
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Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 2 tables
Publication Year: 2000
Series Title: Evolving Values for a Capitalist World