As wealth and political power become increasingly concentrated, it becomes difficult for human-scale democracy to flourish.
Typical front page from www.tidepool.org.
Civic society is that component of social life that falls outside the domain of governments and commerce, yet is concerned with building Community. In order to flourish, civic society requires informal "third place" meeting spaces (outside both home and work), non-governmental organizations, and independent media.
One significant role of civic society is to maintain a barrier between commerce and government. In the absence of major campaign finance reform, citizens must pay constant attention in order to resist the undue influence of wealth on politics. Immediate and democratic participation in shaping the built environment, land-use, taxation and spending, laws, and policies is intrinsic to Reliable Prosperity. It is vital that this participation be provided through spontaneous channels and not just through formal governmental processes.
Non-profit organizations, associations, trade unions, churches, bookstores, cafes, and related community assets play a critical role in hosting and shaping civic society. They provide ongoing ways for citizens to engage in the great conversations about society's meaning and direction. Such dialogue allows fundamental values to be explored and profound new directions to emerge. It forms an important counterpoint to both the formal governance process and the expression of immediate consumer values in the marketplace.
Independent media — including newspapers, radio and television stations, and websites — provide additional communication channels for civic society. They disseminate ideas to much broader audiences and permit ongoing critical examination.
Reliable prosperity promotes civic society through its emphasis on Local Assets and Society. Capital that is rooted locally is responsive to local concerns. Citizens with a sense of Security whose Fundamental Needs are met are more likely to shape civic society. In turn, reliable prosperity depends on an ongoing transformation in values that can only result from meaningful public debate.
Promote the gathering places, non-governmental organizations, and independent media that give civic society full expression. Honor civic society as a barrier between and alternative to both government and commerce.