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Creating a New Moral Political Economy

Courtesy of TEDxMarin

Now in its final 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: human flourishing, moral markets, corporate purpose, re-imagining work and workers, supply chains, racial justice, technology, an earth-friendly political economy, care and care-giving, pedagogy, and the creation of a new narrative.

This program is led by Margaret Levi with the assistance of CASBS Program Director Zachary Ugolnik. Former CASBS program director Federica Carugati, now at King's College, continues to play a leadership role.

The moral political economy program has received funding from the Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Berggruen Institute, Reid Hoffman, and an anonymous donor.

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


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

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

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.