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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’.

Russell Southwood

tensions in her relationship after she had tracked her boyfriend online, revealing his infidelity. 79 Social media is often seen as encouraging democracy, but may simply reinforce existing political behaviours. A study of the use of Twitter during elections between 2011 and 2013 in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria found that: In Nigeria, where divisive identity politics feed violence and electoral misconduct, discussion of

in Africa 2.0
Open Access (free)
Stan Metcalfe
Alan Warde

limits the force of ethical considerations; it uproots community life; it undermines ecological reparations. The extent to which any of the effects listed is singularly the effect of the market is arguable. However, it is noticeable just how comparatively rarely these considerations are currently aired and debated. Some immediate reasons for this might include the prevalence of identity politics, a decline of scholarly interest in power and the powerful, and continued widespread acceptance of economic growth as the primary goal of political management. It is also

in Market relations and the competitive process
The Foundation Economy Collective

mix cultural identity politics with demands for regional autonomy and fiscal federalism. The scapegoating of dependent regions may then be downplayed by parties like Lega Nord when they seek national power; but the logic of their position is restriction of national redistribution to poorer regions. Across Europe, centre-right and populist politicians enthuse about lower taxes, while cultivating their voting bases with narrow and misleading welfare promises focused on pensions and healthcare. An intellectual critique of these observed confusions is not the same as an

in Foundational economy

of an across-identities political front, lowers aspirations for certain identities, and weakens discontent with the institutions which reproduce the existing socioeconomic structure of society. 37 The intentional stratification of racialised groups – to protect a dominant group’s advantages and gains – creates intergenerational inequalities in wealth and, therefore, in economic

in Reclaiming economics for future generations