Citizen Society

From capitalistManifesto

Citizenship identity depends not only on a legal status, but essentially on access to social and economic resources. Thus, citizenship identity, the sense of belonging and solidarity, is necessarily connected with the problem of unequal distribution of resources in society. Modern conception of universal citizenship, specially when it is combined with extreme inequality and poverty, tends to exclude some groups and individuals. Civic education, as an empowerment device, not only can counteract this effect of exclusion, but it also can contribute to citizenship construction toward a more comprehensive and effective citizenship concept.

PUBLIC GOOD

From the inception of political theory to twenty-first century reflections on democracy in a civil society and the future of welfare state, the idea of public good has consistently been linked to the sociomoral resource of civic spirit. This is so insofar as the ideal of the public good claims civic spirit from a society's citizens, while the presence of civic spirit is an indispensable premise for any orientation toward the public good. Through such a circular linkage, the ideal has gained strategic importance as an element of political rhetoric catalyzing a process of normative self-limitation. Due to the context of usage and the semantic competence of its user, the concept of public good has always been capable of both limiting and legitimizing political rule and must therefore be recognized as a functional formal concept: one open to different strategic uses but that nevertheless has a normative dimension. This is constituted by self-limitation resulting from conditions at play in the democratic public sphere.

CITIZEN INDOCTRINATION

"Civic education is often related to citizenship identity, but its role is to indoctrinate rather than apolitically educate."

How does it achieve that indoctrination?

By developing a set of basic competences we expect to obtain at least three important outcomes directly affecting citizenship identity. Firstly, by providing basic knowledge, skills and attitudes, civic education contributes to the effective articulation of demands, that is, the knowledge of rights and duties; the identification of state authorities and institutions responsible for the application of laws and rules that guarantee the exercise of those rights and duties; the skills necessary to make demands through legitimate and effective means. Secondly, the promotion of citizenship conscience and exercise will widen and multiply the spaces for public debate about citizenship construction, that is, the discussion about the incorporation of new rights, and new meanings of citizenship status and democracy.

And thirdly, civic education, by developing civic competences among subordinated groups, empowers citizens to make efficient use of what Amartya Sen (2000) defines as the instrumental function of democracy, that is, the institutional possibility that individuals have in liberal democracies for expressing and defending their demands, and, therefore, for articulating their economic interests in collective decision-making, and promoting wealth redistribution.

These are three closely related and complementary forms, in which civic education contributes not only to making effective for the majority of the population the civic, political and social rights that constitute the modern conception of citizenship, but also to the construction of new citizenship identities, more reasonable and satisfactory for people who live in a context of extreme social inequality, and in a world where citizenship identity as national identity is transforming as the nation-state itself is modifying its traditional role


CONSUMER FINANCE

Financial services are backbone of the society. They have pervasive effect on life of the citizens and hence bearing on all socio-economic indicators. Effective financial services are good for the citizens, society and governments. Various circumstances have kept many people out of net of financial services which has created a gap between those who are in the financial services net and those who are not. This gap is good opportunity for business, civil societies, and governments to fill. No one approach or instrument can fill the gap. Digital currency and mobile technology is most potential instrument to cover non-served population in financial service net. Different approaches, technologies, and products are used across the globe. One size does not fit all in all circumstances and time. Some of them have effectively worked in particular region or segment of customers. There are still many challenges, which hopefully overcome as successive governments and business managers learn from experience and employ better approaches. The governments are expected to make appropriate regulations to make product more affordable, fraud-proof system, protect consumers interest, prevent consumer exploitation, establish accountability, pro-women, and poor and rural population policy, business friendly policy, and reasonable taxes. Businesses are expected to make universal and easy access, friendly product design, affordable prices, and transparent services. Civil societies are expected to create awareness, raise voice for the consumers' rights, advocate right policies, create pressure groups, and bridge the trust gap between stakeholders. Education and Research institutes are expected to conduct market and technical research to propose appropriate product design, business strategies to reach unserved population, and to serve better the existing consumers and to reflect right feedback of the consumers.

COMPETENT CITIZENS

For the creation and continuation of society, every society needs competent members. However, the kinds of knowledge that are required and the extent to which they have to be established depend on various cultural backgrounds, including history, politics, economics, and religion.

In technologically advanced countries, this need has been conceptualized as acquiring citizenship and has provoked relevant research and education. Social scientists and educators are examining whether people, including young children, can develop social awareness through understanding the history, politics, and economics of the society, and also urgent problems such as human rights and environmental issues. It is expected that, as members of society, citizens should recognize these problems as well as be familiar with their entire social system. In addition, they should understand how everyday practices in which they participate relate to other people and other social systems, and know that they are more or less responsible for social events that happen anywhere on earth.

However, it has been documented that it is not easy for ordinary people to acquire accurate societal knowledge. For instance, in his monumental book, Furth (1980) showed that even adolescents, who had supposedly acquired formal operations in cognitive development, could not spontaneously reach the stage of fully understanding social institutions or mechanisms. Moreover, studies on people's understanding of the banking business, as representative of the kind of economic knowledge needed to grasp the present capitalistic world, indicated that adolescents and young adults from middle-class, salaried families in Glasgow, Leiden, and Tokyo possessed only limited knowledge. They developed naive theories about the banking business by borrowing rules from everyday personal interactions that were basically governed by ethical and humanistic considerations (Takahashi and Hatano 1999).

However, it has also been documented that children who are involved in economic activities and live in a highly commercialized area have an enhanced economic understanding. For example, Jahoda (1981) found that children in Harare, Zimbabwe who were working as sellers understood profit-making mechanisms of shops more precociously than did their less-experienced counterparts in Scotland and New Zealand. In addition, it has been observed that people of different social classes develop their own social representations as to social events and systems. For instance, adolescents from middle-class families tend to offer more individualistic explanations for poverty than do their working-class counterparts. Thus, we can assume that formal and informal interventions will advance and elaborate some kinds of societal understandings. In fact, Youniss and Yates (1997) studied how a school-based social activity, i.e., community service experiences at a soup kitchen for the homeless, provoked reflection on poverty, racism, and various social problems among high-school students from a major city in North America. In this case, in a year-long project on social justice, students were both taught in a classroom and required to work four times at a soup kitchen. In Germany, there are many kinds of educational programs for students to learn human rights after Auschwitz. In one project, high-school students cleaned a Jewish cemetery to learn the fate of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany (Rathenow and Weber 1998).

In addition, awareness of inequality and unfairness among the weak in society, i.e., females, children, elderly persons, and handicapped people, has gradually transformed conventional views and beliefs regarding the nature of human beings and human development. For example, Gilligan (1982/1993) pointed out that social sciences have long neglected the fact that females have been socialized and educated to have different voices from males. Although there are no decisive biological differences between the sexes that can rationalize different socialization and education, many studies have indicated that from the birth on, children in almost all cultures are differently socialized and educated through both visible and invisible biased programs of gender typing. Some progressive researchers in Japan have shown by analyzing the content of school textbooks that there are male-dominant biases in both the texts and illustrations.

Furthermore, there are a variety of other opportunities to enhance our societal understanding. For instance, empirical data about the weaker members of society advance people's understanding of human rights. In fact, certain findings have shown that people over 70 years old are, despite the negative image of old age, cognitively and socially competent. This result surely promotes fresh perspectives of successful aging. In addition, narratives about the so-called handicapped may challenge the conventional idea of normality. A book written by a Japanese student who has congenital tetra-amelia, but enjoys an active and satisfying college life, has deeply moved people. Over 5 million copies have been sold. It is reasonable to expect that passing laws and insisting on international treaties that protect women and children will advance people's understanding of the meaning of human rights.

URBAN PLANNING BULLSHIT

The divergence between the holistic path and corporate path is also evident when comparing the collaborative models that they suggest considering in order to transform ordinary urban areas into smart cities. On the one hand, the corporate path’s technology-driven, market-led, and top-down vision of smart city development has resulted in a new urbanism whereby IT solution providers try to persuade local governments in supporting sustainable urban development by adopting their smart technologies (Soderstrom et al., 2014; McNeill, 2016; Paroutis et al., 2014). The collaborative model characterizing this development path is based on a double-helix structure in which the interaction is only between (1) solution providers acting as consultants who offer their technological fixes and (2) city governments, which are persuaded to underpin smart city development by adopting such proprietary technologies. The double-helix structure of this collaborative model generates an entrepreneurial mode of governance where IT corporations working in the market of smart city services become “the main providers of solutions to urban problems” (Pollio, 2016: 515).

However, a large number of researchers suggest such a closed collaborative model does not provide the intellectual capital that is necessary to drive smart city development. Their studies call for a broader collaborative ecosystem in which the interests of governments, universities, and industry are combined (triple-helix structure), along with those expressed by citizens and civil society organizations (quadruple-helix structure).7 According to this collaborative model, “different urban stakeholders (public, private, and civic) [need to] engage in coalitions and innovate together” in order for smart city development strategies to be successful (van Winden and van den Buuse, 2017: 68).