Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present exploration of themes that interconnect six studies in environmentally and socially sustainable human development. Design/methodology/approach – The article presents an overview of the papers included in this special issue. Findings – As humanity threatens to undermine its habitat, a social economics returns to core concepts and themes that became expunged from neoclassical economics: serious examination of persons, seen as more than given points of desire; a broadened perspective on types of good, including a non-neoclassical conception of public goods as publicly deliberated priority goods that are not well managed through free markets and “common goods” as shared bases vital for everyone; study of what commodities and goods do to and for people; a central role for public reasoning about which are public priority goods, rather than using only a technical definition of a public good; an acceptance of notions of ethical responsibility and responsibilities concerning the provision and maintenance of public priority goods determined through public reasoning; and attention to institutional formats for such deliberation. Amongst the greatest of public priority “goods” are the concepts of common good and responsibility. Research limitations/Implications – The findings reinforce the agenda of socio-economics for central attention to the mutual conditioning of economy, society, polity, and environment, including analysis of the sociocultural formation of economic actors and of ideas of “common good”. Originality/value – Cross-fertilization of theorization with cases from Costa Rica, Kenya, Nepal, Thailand, Rwanda, sub-Saharan Africa and global arenas.
Social economics, Social responsibility, Socio-economic regions, Sustainable development
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