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When all the momentous current changes in technology and social structure have run their course, we will have created a new world society. Will this society—the total complex of who we are and how we behave—resolve our major economic and social problems? This is the question that John P. Powelson addresses in his provocative new book, The Moral Economy.
In his discussion of worldwide problems—including poverty, the environment, population growth, ethnic bias, welfare, social security, and health care—Powelson proposes that solutions to social problems are best sought in a greater balance of power among social groups. He explains how to design institutional structures, like government, education, and religion, that will permit conflict to be resolved peacefully and fairly. He also shows how a moral economy—a balance between interventionism and libertarianism—and economic prosperity are mutually reinforcing.
The Moral Economy proposes a desirable world that is historically possible, if certain trends of the past millennium are continued into the next, and if world power becomes more diffuse. As we enter the twenty-first century, it looks to the horizon to suggest what a distant future might bring.