Traditional economics is built on the assumption of self-interested individuals seeking to maximize personal gain, but that is far from the whole story. Sharing, caring, and a desire to uphold the collective good are also powerful motives. In a world wracked by inequality, social divisions, and ecological destruction, can we build an alternative economics based on cooperation?
In this book Chris Benner and Manuel Pastor invite us to imagine a new sort of solidarity economics - an approach grounded in our instincts for connection and community - and in so doing, actually build a more robust and sustainable economy. They argue that our current economy is already deeply dependent on mutuality, but that the inequality and fragmentation created by the status quo undermine this mutuality and with it our economic well-being. They outline the theoretical framing, policy agenda, and social movements that we need to revive solidarity and apply it to whole societies.
Solidarity Economics is an essential read for anyone who longs for a fairer economy that can generate prosperity and preserve the planet.
Chris Benner is Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Manuel Pastor is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.