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The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.

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The perils of leaving economics to the experts

One hundred years ago the idea of ‘the economy’ didn’t exist. Now, improving ‘the economy’ has come to be seen as one of the most important tasks facing modern societies. Politics and policymaking are increasingly conducted in the language of economics and economic logic increasingly frames how political problems are defined and addressed. The result is that crucial societal functions are outsourced to economic experts. The econocracy is about how this particular way of thinking about economies and economics has come to dominate many modern societies and its damaging consequences. We have put experts in charge but those experts are not fit for purpose.

A growing movement is arguing that we should redefine the relationship between society and economics. Across the world, students, the economists of the future, are rebelling against their education. From three members of this movement comes a book that tries to open up the black box of economic decision making to public scrutiny. We show how a particular form of economics has come to dominate in universities across the UK and has thus shaped our understanding of the economy. We document the weaknesses of this form of economics and how it has failed to address many important issues such as financial stability, environmental sustainability and inequality; and we set out a vision for how we can bring economic discussion and decision making back into the public sphere to ensure the societies of the future can flourish.

The Foundation Economy Collective

procedural, issues. And even when not silent – as in the case of the Italian Constitution created after the Second World War – the practice of constitutional argument virtually ignores substantive economic issues. But there is another tradition in thinking about constitutions. It starts not with governmental institutions but with the key component of the polity – the citizen. What does it mean to be a citizen? The most influential European answer to that question was provided by T.H. Marshall in his 1950 essay on social citizenship. Here history is represented as ‘the

in Foundational economy
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Foundational matters
The Foundation Economy Collective

of citizenship. If post-1980 privatisation and outsourcing have ended in disappointment, this relates partly to specific issues about irrelevant regulation in privatised utilities and crisis-prone conglomerates in outsourcing. Regulation of privatised utilities was dominated by economists focused on policing prices and investment and concerned to promote competition. At the same time, managers and fund investors were engineering cash extraction so that in the privatised UK water industry, for instance, the regulator allowed all the profits to be distributed as

in Foundational economy
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Kamal Ramburuth-Hurt

. It is important that economics within schools and communities is not simply a basic version of the neoclassical theories we outlined earlier in this book and is both broader and more relevant. Public economics education could aim to promote economic literacy and citizenship, defined as: Economic literacy : The knowledge, skills and confidence

in Reclaiming economics for future generations
Open Access (free)
Stan Metcalfe and Alan Warde

provision, then democratic determinations and collective solutions are disparaged. Also, the melding of notions of ‘citizenship’ with the status of ‘a consumer’, which Burgess (2001) shows is increasingly a feature within the European Union, individuates people, inviting them to weigh their personal interests rather than those of any collectivity. Fourth, and associated, the free running of competitive markets tends to create inequalities which undermine principles of equality, particularly social equality which Marshall (1950) saw as the foundation of citizenship in the

in Market relations and the competitive process
The Foundation Economy Collective

completed this project, one that amounted to the creation of a parallel providential set of goods and services to stand alongside the material foundational economy. We usually understand this, more social, infrastructure as a welfare state. 22 Foundational economy The combination of the two categories of goods and services – delivered by the material and the providential infrastructures – have a double significance because they both create a foundational economy and are central to the entitlements of citizenship in the modern state. Providential services have

in Foundational economy
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Making do, rationing and nostalgic austerity
Alison Hulme

’ sprung up particularly in the South. War bonds were promoted as ‘an obligation of citizenship, as a way of honoring the sacrifices of America’s fighting men, and as an expression of 75 Nationalist thrift 75 national and intergenerational solidarity’ (Adatto, 2011:383). Campaigns to encourage take-​up of war bonds were organised door-​to-​door and in workplaces, via the ‘minute men’ and ‘minute women’ who were known as ‘victory volunteers’, as well as through national media campaigns and Hollywood (stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Betty Grable). Adatto says, ‘the

in A brief history of thrift
Joe Earle, Cahal Moran, and Zach Ward-Perkins

promote the formation of active citizenship from a young age; subjects such as citizenship are often not taught or when they are, they are often not viewed as adequate qualifications for gaining entry to university. Workshops and courses could also be run for adults in community centres and universities, and through civil society and religious groups, addressing economic issues that are relevant locally and giving people the substantive economic literacy necessary to engage with economic discourse. The second key shift needed for thin democracy to function is the

in The econocracy
Joe Earle, Cahal Moran, and Zach Ward-Perkins

-century Britain, or to challenge and question accepted norms as Socrates did in Greece.5 In our view, both the transmission of civilisation, culture and common standards of citizenship as well as the encouragement of original, critical thinking are important parts of any educational philosophy. Finding ways to do both is one of the great challenges of any form of education. So what are the core principles of a liberal education? All versions of liberal education reject instrumental approaches, narrowly defined as training for work. Whereas in training success has been achieved

in The econocracy