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Abstract

A dramatic change has taken place in the dominant paradigm of economic discussion. Cold War rhetoric has been replaced by a renewed debate between two old antagonists: competition between conflicting private interests and a consensual approach that emphasizes shared interests. Competitive capitalism stresses individual initiative and private rights, concentrates on the growth of wealth, and tends to ignore social conditions. Consensual economics uses a communal or holistic approach, gives priority to the public interest, and regards the quality of life as more important than wealth. Guilds and kibbutzim are prominent examples of that consensual approach, and there is much to be learned from their experience.

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