Marvin Brown

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Marvin Brown is a ECC2013/Participants


"I have been thinking and writing about a global civic economy for all as an alternative to an ownership economy for the few. In Civilizing the Economy (2010), I laid out my vision of such an economy. Since then, the commons has become even more of a vital part of this vision then before, and I am now exploring the relationships among the civic, the commons, and the social."


Marvin Brown has more than thirty years experience as a teacher and consultant in business and organizational ethics. He currently teaches business ethics in the Philosophy Department, University of San Francisco.

Formative experiences in developing my current orientation toward ethics at work:

  • The 1967 – 68 intern year at the lay academy in Bad Boll, Germany, where I learned that in a safe and purposeful context, managers and workers will work together on their disagreements and conflicts.
  • Doctoral studies in theology and rhetoric (1972-1978) where I learned the effectiveness of exploring how communication practices can either shutdown or open-up possibilities for meaningful conversations.
  • Teaching adults at the College of Professional Studies and in other adult degree programs (1979 – 2005), increasing my skills in facilitating group and individual learning.
  • Writing “The Organizational Ethics Newsletter” from 1983 to 1988, which laid much of the groundwork for Working Ethics (1990)
  • Writing The Ethical Process (1993), which offered a step-by-step method for making ethical decisions. This workbook became the source for designing various corporate ethics training programs.
  • Participating in the design and delivery of the Ethics and Diversity training program at Levi Strauss and Company (1994-1997), which increased my expertise in ethics consultation, coaching, and training.
  • Lectures and workshops outside of United States (Germany, Venezuela, Argentina, and Poland), which contributed to an international perspective on business ethics.
  • Continual learning as a trainer and consultant for ethics and compliance programs in such organizations as the California State Automobile Association (2001-2002), San Mateo Human Services, California and Charleston Pathology, South Carolina (2004), and Connex/Veolia, Silver Springs, Maryland (2005).
  • Exploring the connections among the ideas of corporate integrity, relational awareness, civic identity, and communication practices, which resulted in Corporate Integrity: Rethinking Organizational Ethics and Leadership (2005)
  • Participation in the 2005 EBEN annual conference in Bonn Germany, and the 2006 Second World Forum on China Studies in Shanghai, China, where I had a chance to deepen my understanding of a civic perspective of business corporations.
  • Receiving the 2007 part-time faculty Service Award from the College of Arts and Sciences, University of San Francisco.
  • Receiving an Alumni Achievement Award from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2009.
  • Completing Civilizing the Economy, which begin in 2007 with two questions: ”How did Scotland get wealthy when Adam Smith was writing The Wealth of Nations?” and “What would an economy look like that aimed at making provisions for all instead of accumulating property for some?”
  • Since the publication of Civilizing the Economy, becoming involved in conversations about the commons, sharing, alternative economies and related topics, mostly through my blog, and exchanges with people on line.
  • Exploring such concepts as the commons, integrity, civic money, and an economics to provision to see where they lead us."


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