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The aspect of satisfaction with the material conditions of life cannot be separated from the realm of civil society. The proponents of a conceptual differentiation between economy and civil society wrongly presume that, in economic life, interpersonal solidarity, cultural norms, and social values play no role. To refute this, it points to phenomena of human solidarity within economic life, such as workers’ trade unions, the involvement of businessmen in charities or other social endeavors, and the importance of social norms like trust, reliability, punctuality, honesty, friendship, group commitment and non-violent mutual recognition for any well-functioning market economy. On the other hand, it is also acknowledged that market forces are, themselves, blind to the social consequences of their own economic logic. Such consequences may be adverse for many individuals, social groups, or even entire regions, leading to their marginalization and exclusion. Furthermore, markets and civil societies depend on one another for their existence of each.

While the conclusion may be valid, an argument overlooks the fact that a similar interdependence also exists between civil society and the state, or at least a state that displays at least a minimum of accountability and responsiveness toward the needs, interests, and opinions within the society of which it forms a part. It is generally presumed that civil society cannot be anarchic, but rather needs the administrative and legal framework of the state in order to exist. In turn, state institutions that are supposed to be accountable and effective in administering and serving the needs of the society are, like the market itself, in need of socio-cultural norms of trust, reliability, social good commitment, and non-violent mutual recognition. This applies to their internal functioning as well as to their relationships with (different sectors of ) the (civil) society and the economy. Basing observations in settings, people are more prepared to act collectively to achieve their shared goals (i.e. where there is a great measure of social capital and dense civic networks), state institutions, as well as markets, operate more effectively. For sure, modernity also knows the phenomenon of unaccountable states.


The totalitarian state, in its pure, ideal-typical form, does not know anything like an autonomous civil society or public sphere. Unresponsive states without any connection to civil society and devoid of civic norms may assume a monstrous and tyrannical character in relation to their citizens, but so do unrestrained and socially dis-embedded markets in relation to, in particular, the more vulnerable sections of society. In one view, the system/lifeworld dichotomy is most useful for the sake of analytical distinction. That is to say, it allows us to distinguish between different kinds of communication and social good practice, which spring from the basic mechanisms of the (respective) realms of lifeworld, state, and economy. Such an analytical distinction, however, should not lead us mistakenly to posit that there exists an actual separation between these three realms.

Socio-cultural norms derived from the lifeworld are necessary for the effective, accountable, and socially responsible way of functioning of the institutions of state and market alike. And indeed, the persons working in both subsystems are rooted in the lifeworld and have lifeworld-related orientations, norms, and interests. Not surprisingly, therefore, we have the intermediary institutions of political parties, on the one hand, and trade unions, chambers of industry and commerce, and employers’ organizations on the other. These institutions can be regarded, as civil society institutions, since they are bodies of voluntary activity in which human solidarity for common interests and purposes is organized. Their activities and purposes, at the same time, reside within the subsystems of the state and economy respectively. However, these considerations do not alter the fact that such subsystems have their own operational logic, distinct from the lifeworld. This logic represents mechanisms – bureaucracy, hierarchic domination, and economic efficiency for the sake of profit-making- that threaten the independence and integrity of the civil society and lifeworld if such mechanisms are not rendered responsive to the latter. As a matter of fact, the mechanisms of bureaucratic administration and profit-oriented efficiency do penetrate the institutions of modern civil society to varying degrees.


Sparrows by morning, live in peaceful nests! Design shouldn’t dominate things, shouldn’t dominate people. It should help people. Don’t spend your time solving your favorite problems, solve problems that need to be solved, generically. A home is a place where you live, and society is a place where your story begins. Honesty shares honesty, as it is honesty’s nature. Stay always in Ablution and get back to the trust you have been, with.

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