Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Creating a New Moral Political Economy

Main content start

Now in its fourth year, the moral political economy program has grown to a network of over 100 academics, journalists, politicians, civil society activists, and technologists concerned with the future of capitalist democracies. 

In 2018, the program emerged from the recognition that the current political economic framework is fraying and seeks to build a new one: an endeavor made more critical by COVID-19, the racial justice movement, and increased political polarization across the globe. The new framework draws on the best social scientific knowledge about humans and their behavior to better serve the needs of individuals, society, and the environment.

The network is organized in a number of working groups focusing on the critical elements of a new framework where we can have the biggest impact: mobilizing in the interest of others, human social flourishing, care and caregiving, biophilic institutions, descent jobs, supply chains, racial justice and identity group stratifications, democracy and "noxious" markets, moral firms, technology and high-tech modernism, and how we can rethink the history of governance to revise the present. Each of the topics is addressed in the Winter 2023 issue of Dædalus, curated by the program and edited by Margaret Levi and Henry Farrell.

Collectively, we've been working to create a new narrative. This includes redefining how we teach political economy, a charge taken up by the pedagogy working group that recently launched this Teaching and Learning Repository for a Moral Political Economy. Specifically, it extends to how we teach economics and empower a more diverse demographic of undergraduate students and instructors to the discipline. The enCOREage project works towards that end.

The larger program is led by Margaret Levi and co-led by CASBS Program Director Zachary Ugolnik.

The Center gratefully acknowledges the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Reid Hoffman for their principal support of the program. We're also thankful for additional funding from the Ford Foundation, the Berggruen Institute, and an anonymous donor.

For more information, please contact CASBS program director Zachary Ugolnik (


Program Curates Issue of Dædalus (Winter 2023)

The issue, edited by Margaret Levi and Henry Farrell, features eleven lead essays, each accompanied by two shorter response essays. It features a cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral selection of scholars and thought leaders affiliated with the CASBS program Creating a New Moral Political Economy. Like the CASBS program inspiring them, the essays focus on questions, identify obstacles, and advance roadmaps for establishing a fairer and more inclusive political economic framework, one that can enable the emergence of a revised form of capitalist democracy.

Read the full Dædalus issue here.

Program Launches Teaching and Learning Repository for a Moral Political Economy

This online repository collects resources that will help scholars and teachers who want to explore ways to teach issues of moral and political economy across disciplines in an integrated, holistic, and intentional way — including an overview of existing interdisciplinary programs, a selection of over a hundred syllabi that draw upon varying disciplinary perspectives, and links to digital resources that scholars have found useful in teaching courses on related themes.

A Moral Political Economy: Present, Past, and Future

CASBS is proud to announce the publication of A Moral Political Economy: Present, Past, and Future. The authors are Federica Carugati, a former CASBS program director, and CASBS director Margaret Levi, the program’s leader. The book benefits from the Creating a New Moral Political Economy program’s incubation at CASBS, including the efforts of its working groups and network of collaborators. Read the announcement of the publication here.

Social Science for a World in Crisis

The ongoing work of the program informs and inspires much of the webseries Social Science for a World in Crisis launched by CASBS in 2020. The series draws on the extraordinary convening power of CASBS and its deep pool of affiliates and alumni to address fundamental contemporary questions. The accessible format of the series’ live online discussions and its archive of past episodes allow the Center to amplify the key insights of the moral political economy program, reach a broader audience, and possibly influence policy discourse. See recent and upcoming episodes here.

The multimedia website, Fairer Tomorrow, features ideas and solutions for rethinking our political economic system. Designed and produced in partnership with artist Şerife Wong and in collaboration with creative studio Lusion, it features more than 100 resources, recommendations, and solutions advanced by members of the moral political economy program network. Upon entering the site, visitors encounter a space where they can drag and move their cursors through an animated field containing points of light. Clicking a point of light reveals a specific quote and audio track, often voiced by the author themselves, the name of the network member who composed it, and a hyperlink to the source publication in which the quote appears. Navigate to the database page for a full list of these materials. Read the announcement of the launch here.  

Fairer Tomorrow: Solutions to the Issues highlighted by COVID

Program News

enCOREage to Accelerate Shift to Inclusive Economics

CASBS and the Creating a New Moral Political Economy program, in collaboration with nonprofit organizations CORE Econ and Honor Education (Honor Ed), launched an initiative in September 2022 that will attract and empower a more diverse demographic of undergraduate students and instructors – many at minority-serving institutions – to the study of economics.

The initiative, called the enCOREage Project, uniquely combines the expertise and aligned missions of the partners for purposes of broadening and accelerating the substantial success CORE Econ already has achieved. The project’s objective, over time, is no less than to change economics – including the experience of learning and teaching it.

Read the full announcement here.

Political Equality: What is it and why does it matter? (Deaton Review, 2022)

Pablo Beramendi, Tim Besley, and Margaret Levi co-write an essay in Deaton Review, published February 16, 2022. They focus on ‘equal consideration’ as an ideal for political equality in democratic settings.

Read the full article here.

How Labor Unions Shape Society (TedxSeattle Talk 2021)

Margaret Levi presented this talk to a local audience at TedxSeattle in 2021. It now has more than a million views on youtube.

The weekend. Social Security. Health insurance. What do these things have in common? They all exist thanks to the advocacy of labor unions. Margaret Levi explains how these organizations forge equality and protect worker rights, calling for a 21st-century revival of the labor movement in order to build a more equitable future.

Levi's Breakthrough a Win for CASBS Program - Nov. 9, 2020

Margaret Levi’s conception of “an expanded community of fate” gained international recognition as the 2020 “Breakthrough of the Year” in the social sciences and humanities. The Falling Walls Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Berlin, selected ten “Breakthroughs” out of a pool of nearly 1000 nominations from 111 countries. The recognition honors Levi individually. Perhaps more importantly, it also affirms ideas and work that extend to the program’s collaborative efforts where the concept is integral, even motivating. “This recognition is particularly meaningful to me because it acknowledges the work we have been doing at CASBS to create a new moral political economy that builds on and then sustains an expanded, inclusive and robust community of fate,” said Levi. Watch a video of Margaret accepting the reward here.

Other Materials

Here are some additional resources connected to the program:



Access a 2019 interview with Margaret Levi speaking about the project here. The interview is part of "Human Centered," a podcast about the Center's projects and the scholars who undertake them. Renowned journalist and former CASBS fellow John Markoff serves as host.

Read the program’s 2018 framing piece here.