This recent book from the foundational economy collective is the go to source for engaged citizens, active practitioners and critical academics beyond who want to know more about the foundational economy concept and its relevance to the politics of progressive reform.
The foundational encompasses material utilities like water, gas and electricity and providential services like education, health and care. The book explains how the material and providential matter economically and politically because they are the collectively consumed infrastructure of everyday life, the basis of well being and should be citizen rights. The emphasis on citizenship is an important new development in foundational thinking.
From this point of view, the foundational economy has a history which began heroically and ends in degradation. In the century after 1880 national and local state action built up the supply of foundational services right across Europe and North America. Since 1980 their systems of provision have been undermined by state neglect. This is variably combined with privatisation, outsourcing and market choice which import the unsuitable business models of financialized public companies and private equity.
The book takes up the political challenge of thinking about how we can have a better future. It does not recommend specific policies but proposes broad principles for re-building the foundational which could mobilise old and new social actors in broad political alliances; ask the citizens what they want; reinvent taxation; lean on intermediary institutions; and do not assume the state is benign and competent.
The book is relevant to all of Europe and beyond and is available as an accessibly priced paper back in three languages. MUP, publishes in English with German and Italian editions available from Suhrkamp and Einaudi. Before you buy the book, do read our introductory chapter on this web site which explains the argument of the book here.