Decentralization of Political Power

Decentralization of globalization has everything to do with the  definition of “Civic Attitude”.[1]  Although  a tradition exists, from a Scottish  illustration in the seventeenth century, separating the concepts “civic” and  “civil”, it is necessary to point out the confusion of using both terms  interchangeably, but moreover to refer to “civil society”.
             An important part of this book is to clarify the mentioned  confusion, especially in the preface, and I should mention that the majority of  analysts refer to “civil society” when in reality they mean Civic  Attitude.  For instance, Ernest Gellner (1991), Adam Seligman (1995) y Carlos Monsiváis (2005, cited in Table 1 of the preface), as well as philanthropists like George Soros (Building  open  societies, Soros Foundation Network 2005 report, 2006),  speak of  civil societies.  In a certain sense,  Soros is correct because a large part of his mission is helping construct responsible, efficient and honest civil governments.  On the other hand, Soros should gain better  understanding that his role is not to represent the civil government, rather,  to be an agent of Civic Attitude.
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In this  book, I distinguish between civil society as government and Civil Society, which represents the non-governmental sector and the actions governments cannot perform not only due to their lack of imagination, but also due to the  bureaucratic disinterest.
             To differentiate between the civic and civil, I should recognize the  thinkers of the Scottish Illustration (that flourished between 1740 and 1800)  created and important body of thought that established the idea of a  market economy and civil government with moral and civic values to prevent  corrupt tyrants, rulers and “public servicemen” from abusing their power.
             Lindley Murray popularized the idea that individual power can  prevail over tyrannical power.  Although  Murray lived in the United States, he captured the term “civic” from the  Scottish Illustration in his book The English Reader (published in 1799), and was the second most popular English speaking author in the world between 1800 and 1849.  During that time,  11 million copies of his work were sold in the United States alone, and 3  million were sold in other countries.  He  focused on highlighting personal integrity and passionately defended the common  good.[2] 
             Meanwhile, a French tradition, initiated by Montesquieu y De  Tocqueville, exposed the idea that Civic Attitude is necessary to help civil  government and insisted that it functions for the common good.  These thinkers emphasized the civic role of  autonomous associations among civil societies, not political ones, with which they started their own actions in favor of the people in general.  The travels of Alexis de Tocqueville brought  him to the conclusion that the United States, a country that barely started its  independent existence
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was  the epitome  of Civic Attitude, already moving forward and taking advantage of the English  civil legislative tradition, that which contributed to the reading population   newspapers  to understanding its surroundings.
             The idea of establishing its own  Civic Attitude flourished in England and Germany as well, in the first country  to limit the power of the monarchy which was still in power, in the second  country to stimulate a new intellectual tradition.[3]
             From the Scottish illustration, it  is important to also note that Adam Smith, author of La  riqueza de las naciones (1776), which was considered  the  foundation of the free trade among nations for the benefit of them all, was  written before his Teoria de los  sentimientos morales (1759). In this theory Smith suggested  that “social  capital” should be based in the network consisting of school, family, community, religion and volunteer associations; or Civic Attitude, which gives  life to people and the market amongst villages, cities, regions and  nations.  Smith clarified that interests  and the market are not self sufficient for creating a society that benefits all, without the necessity of civil culture to form strong relations between  these various types of entities.  Social  capital complements capital economy and viceversa.[4]
             More recently, Civic Attitude has  been identified as Civic Culture.
             My  mother Magdalena  Iosefciuc, has been the first role model for me regarding  the prominence of civic action. I am  dedicating this book to her.
[1]  I capitalize the term “Civil Attitude” to differentiate it from the  term “civil society”, a criteria which is utilized throughout this work. 
[2]  Véase Charles Monaghan, “Lindley Murray and the [Scottish]  Enlightenment”, http://faculty.ed.uiuc.edu/westbury/paradigm/monoghan2.html,  1996.
[3]  Véase Fania Oz-Salzberger (1995).
[4]  Véase Peter J. Dougherty (2002) Who’s afraid of Adam Smith: How the  market got its soul!, New York: Wiley, cited by Christopher Farrell en www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/nov2002/nf20021115_2141.htm  
Olga Magdalena Lazin
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Olga Magdalena Lazín
E-mail: olgalazin@gmail.com