Citizens vs. Markets
How Civil Society is Rethinking the Economy in a Time of Crises
Edited by Lorenzo Fioramonti, Ekkehard Thümler
To Be Published November 1st 2013 by Routledge – 176 pages
After an apparent temporary relief, the financial crisis is back full steam. The ‘double dip’ has turned into a full-blown meltdown of financial markets, public budgets and, by and large, democratic accountability. This global crisis is a fundamental wake-up call: a signal that our conventional political economy and, perhaps, the very foundations of our societies need a serious rethink. Currently, the spotlight is on the role of political elites and economic agents (especially the investors included in the vague notion of ‘markets’) and their strategies to stabilize or destabilize countries, from North America to the Eurozone. Regrettably, the actual and potential role of civil society is hardly mentioned in public debate. Yet, it is exactly within civil society that important responses to the crisis may emerge. It is within civil society that an alternative paradigm and a fundamental rethinking of conventional wisdom may be fostered. Citizens vs. Markets is the first book to unpack the transformative role of civil society in a sector in which it has traditionally been less proactive, in order to reflect on possible forms of social transformation that are not merely remedial but also constructive in nature. This is the most important struggle of our times.
This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Civil Society.
1. Introduction – Accountability, democracy and sustainability: what role for civil society? Part 1 – Explaining the crisis: three approaches 2. Civil society and global finance: lack of voice and public accountability 3. Democracy lost: the global financial crisis and the failure of neo-liberalism 4. Rethinking the role of the economy and the nature of money Part 2 – What civil society? What response? 5. The role of civil society in holding financial powers accountable 6. The occupy movement and the framing of the financial crisis in the public sphere 7. What is Degrowth? From an activist slogan to a social movement 8. Conclusion: Civil society and the future of our societies
Lorenzo Fioramonti is Jean Monnet Chair in Regional Integration and Governance Studies and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), where he directs the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation.
Ekkehard Thümler is project director at the Centre for Social Investment of the University of Heidelberg (Germany).