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Civic Capitalism

Civic Capitalism: The State of Childhood

John O’Neill
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 137
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  • Book Info
    Civic Capitalism
    Book Description:

    Civic Capitalismexamines the current surrender to global capitalism and market elites that exploit rich national niches of civic society, education, health, the rule of law, and social security, and challenges it to re-focus on the needs of children and the poor.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2801-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Law, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction: The Civic Way: Beyond Left and Right?
    (pp. 3-16)

    The present work is inspired by the need to come to terms with the current reconstruction of the political economy of the welfare state in three countries (the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada) to which I owe my education, health, and employment. I have developed a specifically Canadian concept of civic society in my bookThe Missing Child in Liberal Theory(1994). The liberal-communitarian debate in North America has now turned into the search for a ‘third way’ in politics (Giddens 1998). I believe that the idea ofcivic capitalismcaptures what is emerging from the public debate,...

  6. 1 Civic Capitalism
    (pp. 17-34)

    To find its way, every society institutes its own cognitive and moral map. It does so over a long history, drawing upon the materials of myth, religion, philosophy, art, and science. In whatever way a society does this, the effect is to constitute what we may call itscultural capital, which will include its reproduction of human, physical, and civic capital. Capital accumulation is productive on both the collective and the individual level of conduct, but it is everywhere unevenly distributed and thus the subject of continuing political struggle (Bourdieu 1984). For a considerable time, political struggle in industrial democracies...

  7. 2 Civic Education
    (pp. 35-54)

    All older industrial societies must now recast their approach to human capital formation. Whether or not this exercise is due to the past sins of the welfare state or to our conversion to the new puritanism of the global market, we are engaged in a great national debate about investment in human capacities. We cannot allow this debate to be directed solely by marketers and financiers, to whom the mass media give such loud voice. Nor can this debate be decided solely by economists, demographers, or sociologists. No social science is privileged in the national exercise of reconstituting our civic...

  8. 3 The Civic State
    (pp. 55-76)

    The question before us is whether national states can survive without civic identities. A national civic identity cannot be sustained apart from a committed political culture in which the centrifugal forces of globalization are constrained (Held 1995: 278–83). Multiculturalism, pluralism, and localism represent only weak responses to globalism unless they address the underlying troubles of dislocation, labour migration, racism, and political refuge. Nor can national civic identity flourish where lifestyle issues and ideologies displace civic autonomy in favour of market sovereignty and substitute consumer choice in place of moral freedom. To counteract these forces a strategy for civic sustainability...

  9. 4 Civic Childhood
    (pp. 77-88)

    There is no idyllic phase of childhood nor any Eden before its encounter with a world that cannot separate the incalculable joy and the endless misery of its children. Whatever its intimacy, the child’s first world is only set apart in our social imagination. In practice, the family and its place in the economy is likely to produceunequal worlds of childhoodbeyond all the variations that are the fine grain of our lives. Making children is part of the larger business of making civic souls, as Plato recognized in theRepublic. For their own good, souls are subject to...

  10. 5 The Civic Gift
    (pp. 89-100)

    Today we are in search of rationales for withdrawing the gift of the poor. We refuse them work, we reduce their wages, work them longer, and remove their welfare. Curiously enough, we do so by attributing to the poor themselves a disdain for the obligations incurred by charity! In this, we engage a one-sided and unhistorical concept of individual independence to conscript everyone into a duty-free political economy (O’Neill 1994). It is said that no one should have to practice charity anymore than anyone should have to receive it. No one should be obliged either to give or to receive...

  11. Conclusion: A Child’s Guide to Capitalism
    (pp. 101-110)

    Today the question of social justice is set in the context of postcommunism and the expansion of global capitalism. Hitherto, the external tension between communism and capitalism and the internal conflict between capital and labour induced capitalism to indulge its two major give-backs – foreign aid abroad and the welfare state at home. Thus, the social contradictions of capitalism result in a major market correction, so to speak:

    1 The state intervenes to modify market freedom on the side of production (investment, employment).

    2 The state intervenes in the market on the side of consumption (to provide decommodified goods, health, education,...

  12. References
    (pp. 111-126)
  13. Index
    (pp. 127-131)