Innovations in CED and social economy are blossoming around Canada and the globe. But with all the emphasis on better and best practices, the theoretical basis for this work is getting scant attention. To correct this, Mike Lewis broaches the development of neo-liberal economic thinking. While setting our era apart from everything that has come before in terms of production capacity, neo-liberalism is fundamentally ill-suited to the management of the planet's resources.
"A body of practice and institutions that re-integrate economic and social goals is crucial to getting us on a sustainable path. But is the blossoming of local and regional innovations across the globe sufficient to sustain a transformative process of change? Pat Conaty, of the New Economics Foundation in England, recently challenged me to consider a dimension beyond my applied approach to fostering change when he commented:
'If we don't set out a stronger theoretical base for our work, if the movements we build are simply pragmatic and without a sound intellectual base, we will not ultimately succeed in changing hearts or minds."
"My point is quite simple. By bringing social goals into the economic equation-a central tenet of community economic development and the social economy-we would transform the ways in which economic and business decisions are made. Why do we want to do this? Because introducing the social context places demands on markets that contemporary economic ideology is loathe to consider. Insisting that the social goals of the community, or more broadly the society, be inserted into the economic equation means people will need to make deliberate choices about the kind of society they want."