Value of Reciprocity

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Book: ORSI, Cosma (2006), The Value of Reciprocity. Arguing for a Plural Political Economy, Roskilde (DK): Federico Caffè Centre Publisher & University of Roskilde, 138pp.

"In this essay, Cosma Orsi (Roskilde University, Denmark) argues that one of the most urgent challenges of our times is the need to "repair the social fracture" generated by the free market. Basic income is discussed (pp.106-111) as one of the elements of a package of measures that might contribute to reach this goal." ( newsletter)


The book is a critique of what the author calls the Political Economy of Freedom, which is at the basis of our current system. This conception considers, erroneously of course, that humans are atomized individuals, solely in the game for their utilitarian benefit, making choices as if they were not a part of various concrete communities and societies. The dominant market form, based on impersonal relations, is based on a implicit contract of reciprocal indifference.

Hence what we need, if we want to develop more humane economies and societies, which do not futher disintegrate our natural habitat and human civilization, is a recognition of our connectedness. This will lead to a Political Economy of Solidarity, based on a implicit Contract of Reciprocal Solidarity, and to a conception of society which does not only recognized the separate individual with his negative rights not be interfered with, but also take into account the social right for the Common Good. The essay then investigates the results of such a new view.

More Information

The Political Economy of Solidarity. By Cosma Orsi.


The author can be reached at cosma at