We break down the problem of unethical economics using four key concepts (see the links for more detail):
1. Economic overreach – economic ties reach beyond community ties, leaving economic interactions insufficiently monitored.
2. Behaviour vs structure – because economic interactions are insufficiently monitored, problems arise for environmental and social sustainability. We distinguish between behavioural and structural solutions in addressing these problems. Behavioural solutions involve changing our behaviour. Structural solutions involve changing the structures within which we function and hence enabling greater scope for behavioural solutions. We propose that structural solutions are more powerful as well as being generally absent in debates on this subject.
3. Cooperatition– the structural solution that we suggest is to achieve a suitable balance between competition and cooperation (which together make the portmanteau cooperatition). Currently competition has precedence in markets. This needs to be balanced by cooperation mechanisms in order to achieve sustainable communities.
4. Big society – The community mechanisms proposed include: regulation; ethical agreements between businesses; and e-community amongst consumers and all other actors. We propose that e-community is preferable since it constitutes the crowdsourcing of the problem, whilst other options lack sufficient capacity.
We look first at economic overreach.