The Civility of Ordinary Life


The portentous risk to civic life, as Vaclav Havel repeatedly warned, is putting a price tag on it. But what is perceived to be a risk in Czechoslovakia is nothing but ordinary in the West. In the United States the rich have excellent health care, receive and pay for courtesy, and have fine schools for their children. Indeed, race confounds this equation. As Eastern European countries shake free from old regimes of political oppression, corrupt bureaucracies, and lack of economic freedoms, the dangers of “enterprising” social life—when adopting enterprise economies—loom large. Havel warns that emerging economic inequalities may imperil the civic order.


Social Contract Economic Freedom Urban Farmer Social Cooperation Social Convention 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1993

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