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Preserving our common heritage - the significance of community and the role of the market in contemporary European society


1) To analyse the effect of the market on communities as the former expands continuously into areas where previously it did not operate. A conceptual analysis will be undertaken in order to show the potentially damaging effects of the market on the life of communities, be they "local communities" which unite a group of people who live in close proximity, for whom their community gives them a sense of shared identity, or spatially dispersed communities, e.g. the scientific community, which unite their members by defining common goals and standards of excellence which govern a particular practice.
2) To examine a concrete case - environmental decision making in which market relations are extended beyond their traditional domain. By considering reactions by people who become embroiled in such cases, a schema demarcating the ethical limitations of the market will be drawn. 3) To investigate the possibility of a form of economic organisation which does not erode the values of community in the way that the market does. So-called "local exchange trading systems" will be subjected to scrutiny, not as a full-scale replacement of the market, but as a supplement to it, both in order to preserve the heritage and integrity of our communities, and to overcome problems of chronic unemployment which have proved to be intractable for a market economy. Industrial and policy implications will be drawn.
I will receive expert supervision in the areas of ethics and economics, systems theory, institutional economics, and methodology. The study period will allow me to familiarise myself with a new academic network, thus equipping me with flexible skills when I continue my academic career. I will also contribute to the environment in which I will work by offering lectures and seminars on the subjects covered by my research. Although no direct links, as such, will be forged with industry, my work will have both industrial and policy relevance, as it deals with issues such as what is the most suitable mechanism for economic allocation, the possibility of supplementing the market with more localised economic systems, and the possibility that such systems may help to alleviate the worst effects of long-term unemployment.

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Private Universität Witten/Herdecke
58448 Witten

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