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Copyright
VOLUME 1 (1999), ISSUE 1 (SUMMER)

 

COMMUNITARIAN ECONOMICS : CRITICISMS AND SUGGESTIONS FROM THE LEFT

CHARLES DERBER

 

SUMMARY

Communitarians have rightly sounded the alarm about social crises such as the family’s one. But they have been startlingly silent about the convulsive changes in the economy : the new age of job insecurity and temporary work ; the plant closings and mass firings by companies fleeing to low-cost markets ; the decline in real wages that has necessitated the two-income household ; the growth of poverty among working families. The critical task of envisioning an economics aimed at the reconstruction of community. While the emerging contest is, at the most obvious level, between the American, Japanese and European variants of the market economy, the deeper and more interesting competition is between two fundamentally different structural models : the " free market " model such as exemplified by the American economy under Ronald Reagan and George Bush, and the " social market " model embodied in the social democracies of Western Europe and in The Mondragon cooperative economy in the Basque region of Spain. In the emerging post-Communist economic competition, social market systems can prevail by evolving towards a new synthesis of social democracy and cooperativism.

KEYWORDS

Cooperativism - Social Democracy - Free Market Economy - Social Market Economy

AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION

Charles DERBER is a professor of sociology and the director of the graduate program "Social Economics and social Justice" at Boston College, USA.

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