Both the collapse of the financial system and the recent child protection scandals in the UK illustrate the limitations of the contract model for regulating social interactions. This article argues that the economic orthodoxy that has dominated recent public policy in the affluent Anglophone countries is now discredited, and that the social value derived from communications and exchanges within cultures of empathy, respect and inclusion should supply criteria for evaluating interventions, and should replace contracts as means of sustaining quality in many aspects of services.
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