Community and the Economy: The Theory of Public Co-operation by Jonathan Boswell

By Jonathan Boswell

Proposing a brand new political and historic idea of the combined economic system, this e-book is a powerful argument for a demanding social excellent - democratic communitarianism. Individualistic notions of liberty, equality and prosperity are too valuable to fashionable lifestyles and so they must be balanced by way of values of `community' and co-operation. Arguing that any such transformation is feasible and useful, the writer argues that long term adjustments needs to be accomplished sooner than fiscal good fortune can ensue in a extra fraternal, participative, and democratic society.

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The available alternatives tend to be cumbrous, culture bound or historically tainted. The 'sexist' objection is neatly dealt with by Crick. He comments that 'sisterhood' would be as good as 'fraternity', indeed perhaps better; 'but it would be still better to desex, even to feminise, old 38 Community and the economy "fraternity'', rather than to rewrite most languages or impede them with more neologisms'. 3 Fraternity's ethical centrality follows from what has already been said. Because it approximates to communion, fraternity is fundamental to personal development and moral value.

Only one route offered a viable alternative to both disunity and central tyranny; and that was the building-up of a civilized, sustainable network of institutions between individuals and the state. What was needed here, Durkheim thought, was the fonnation of 'professional ethics', the exercise of responsible self-discipline by occupational groups, above all the emergence of new 'corporations' with public responsibilities and duties. In Durkheim's view, in the Roman Empire and again in the Middle Ages, a 'corporative' organization of economic affairs had been largely socially beneficial.

But for him, significantly, liberty and equality could not stand on their own; nor could they claim primacy, separately or even together: instead, both liberty and equality were essentially correlates, even instruments, of the central vision of 'solidarity'. For the purposes of this book Durkheim's significance lies equally in the fact that he went on to grapple with the implications of a 'solidarity' with libertarian and egalitarian overtones specifically for economic life and for an evolving industrial society.

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