The Cordial Economy

Recently I came across an interesting book, The Cordial Economy, by Patrici Calvo. He emphasizes mutual recognition and reciprocity. Here’s an excerpt from the Prologue and a link to the book:

The main thesis sustained throughout this work is about the cooperation that appears and develops in economic activity, not only through self-interest or for strategic reasons, but also through the cordial recognition that already exists, in fact, when we establish relationships with one another. Along these lines, cordial reciprocity is proposed as a basis for cooperation. In other words, emphasis is placed on this exclusively human capacity to reciprocate, to be committed and to deal with a common objective from the perspective of us and not just I: an us that must be cordially acknowledged.

The Cordial Economy on Google Books

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The New Economics

Doughnut Model

People in various countries are working on new models for 21st century economics. One of the more interesting is Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut” model. Here is one of her blogs, in which she proposes that tackling social inequality is key to human survival and prosperity.

4 Books on Violence – Camus, Arendt, Fanon & Zizek

Matthew Blackman

4168NrZuyNL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_1.The Rebel – Albert Camus

Camus’s The Rebel (L’Homme Révolté) was famously panned by Sartre and his friends in the periodical Le Temps Moderne.  In the published exchanges that ensued Camus was, it is often said, defeated in the rhetorical joust.  Even Tony Judt, a great admirer of Camus, said: ‘In L’Homme Révolté (1951) Camus offered some important observations about the dangers of lyrical revolutionary illusions; but Raymond Aron said much the same thing to vastly more devastating effect in L’Opium des Intellectuels, while Camus’s naive, almost autodidactic philosophical speculations exposed him to a cruel and painful riposte from Sartre that severely damaged his credibility with the bien-pensant intellectual Left and permanently undermined his public self-confidence.’

Camus was, partly as a result of this and partly his stance on Algeria, to withdraw into a paralyzing silence.  But the book itself is not without its merits…

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The Price of Silence

We are responsible

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

In an earlier post, “Indifference Is the Enemy”I reflected upon the issues of love, hate, and indifference. The quote above, by Martin Luther King Jr., is focused on the same idea. These words are relevant at any time, in any age, but they have taken on a new urgency today.

The events last week in Charlottesville, Virginia, were shocking to many people, but not just to the targets of the alt-right groups who parade openly, without masks or hoods, in defiance of standards of behavior expected by mainstream society. Their violence and messages of hate were met by outrage and denunciations by many people in America and around the world, except for one.

Violence erupts at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (CNN.com)Violence erupts at a white nationalist rally in…

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Common Sense 2017

Now is the time for us… to think of and discuss common sense proposals. Much of this is about finding a fair balance between options, removing them from the weeds of ideology.  So here’s my list:

Champion equal opportunities for working people, and promote safe working conditions, viewing this as essential to individual freedom and responsibility by assisting economic independence

Support public education, viewing this as essential to a non-elitist, informed participation in civic affairs

Promote universal health care, viewing this as basic to human dignity and essential to national security

Show our ideals by living them, respecting individual and minority rights

Practice and support freedom of worship, freedom of the press, and the right to peacefully assemble to petition the government

Practice and support free speech, within the reasonable constraints of concern for others’ safety, to insure the flow of ideas and critical thinking so necessary for a free society

Support government policies and programs that aid people most in need, viewing these as essential to alleviating marginalization, isolation, and suffering, and to promoting a cohesive society in which everyone can equally participate

Promote a fair tax system that relieves the burden on the working poor and middle class and asks more (but not to the point of being punitive) of those who have prospered because of our healthy economy and sound government

Support far-sighted, science-based regulation to protect and enrich the environment, and working to bring together all stakeholders in this process

Support sensible gun safety rules and education, and community policing, in order to advance the spirit and principles of a civil society

Support businesses, especially small businesses, in order to strengthen communities

Support entrepreneurship in order to keep America at the forefront of technology, manufacturing, and distribution/trade

Promote community-based organizations, public libraries, a mix of public/private transportation, and community spaces, such as parks, playgrounds, and meeting place

– Mary Clark

THE TOUGHEST JOB YOU’LL EVER LOVE

The English Professor at Large

This is Peace Corps week and time to remember and honor the two years and three months I served as a Volunteer in Slovakia. It was 1994, and I was sixty-seven years old, part of a group of much younger, wonderful women and men. For our first three months, we went to training school to prepare for what the Peace Corps calls “The toughest job you’ll ever love.”
To help the process, we were farmed out to Slovak families who had volunteered to house us. Now, this was a gutsy move on their part. They had been raised during the Nazi and Soviet regimes, and Americans were always the enemy, and, suddenly, there we were….right in their living rooms. My family consisted of three women in their 40s, none of whom spoke a word of English. They were kind to me, and one of them, Ema, became a good friend…

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Health Care 2017

health-reality-logo

It’s time we faced the issue of health care coverage without the slant of ideology or partisan politics. Obamacare was flawed, but it was further crippled by Congress changing and not implementing some of its provisions, including those which provided funding for the program. Insurance companies professed interest, but several of the largest refused to participate in the marketplace of many states, citing fears they would be putting their better-paying customers in the position of paying for those less well-off and this was too big a risk to take. The hoped-for competition didn’t take place and premiums rose.

We have to face facts. Many rural areas and some inner city areas lack the economic base to provide quality health care to all of their residents. Some people perceive the economic gap as unfair, and believe a different arrangement would solve the problem. When that arrangement has been to receive financial help from the more affluent, often urban areas, or centralized government, it has added to the resentment. Buying policies across state lines, as has been proposed, only puts the burden on those states with a more affluent population. Tax credits will most likely be inadequate, and health savings plans cannot provide enough of a safety net in the event of chronic illness. The free market won’t solve the issue, either, since there isn’t a large enough market in many rural areas, insurance companies have little incentive to provide coverage. None of these address the basic problem of inequality.

Rather than repairing Obamacare or putting together a cobbled-together health care program, which will probably greatly resemble Obamacare, or fall far short of solving the problem, we need to take a fresh look at the problem. In my view, the best way to provide health care to everyone is to have a form of health care program similar to Medicare, with various options, into which everyone pays and everyone receives quality coverage. This would overcome the issues of income redistribution and inequality, and the anger and division which they create. Whether this program is operated by the federal and state governments or by a consortium of private and public health care providers, or allow people to choose between these models, would make for an interesting debate.