Civic Capitalism offers a reappraisal of the moral practices that are basic to the civic institutions of childhood, citizenship, and social justice. John O'Neill expands the economist's concept of human capital to include health, education, and other social transfers that enrich civic capital, and thereby underwrite childhood, family, and community life. This concept of human capital is shown to be at the political core of capitalist societies in North America and Europe whose welfare regimes are continuously contested yet are intrinsic to ideals of citizenship and social justice. O'Neill identifies the state of childhood as the site where notions of civic well-being are tested. He examines the current surrender to global capitalism and market elites and challenges the reader to refocus attention on the needs of children and the poor, arguing that elite ideologies of anti-governance and anti-taxation ignore the needs of society's most vulnerable, and that inequality, ignorance, and sickness are the real impediments to economic growth and democracy.
Drawing upon the classical tradition of critical political economy and social policy in Galbraith, Rawls, and Tawney, among others, Civic Capitalism provides a guide to civic childhood and the wealth of nations.
John O'Neill is a distinguished research professor emeritus in the Department of Sociology at York University.