Sunday, April 22, 2012

The rise of civil society?

Why are we only discussing the state and the market?

The figure tries to depict how various activities have moved from different spheres during the growth of the capitalist society (to the Left) and where they might go in an alternative development (to the Right). With the introduction of capitalism and market economy, many things were moved out from the family, local communities and civil society (the local communities, e.g. the villages, are here seen as part of civil society rather than as part of the state). The role of the state also increased initially: the state organized education, built infrastructure, health care, etc. It also regulated the family and civil society increasingly.

In the later phase of capitalism, more and more has been moved to the market; some aspects of life, like religion, have been relegated to the individual, mainly because they are no longer seen as essential for social order. Civil society organizations have been further weakened, mainly because the market has penetrated most of its space and realm and because of the attitude and values of the market economy. Individualism and competition have not been conducive for civil society.

In the future, we should strive for more activity in the local communities and civil society and less activity in the market sphere as well as in the central government. Also the private sphere should regain some of its relevance, in particular regarding food production and preparation and other household services.
(from Garden Earth)

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