Tuesday

Ten Common Sense Principles for a New Economy


David Korten is very concerned that we still haven't learned out lessons from the last meltdown. The proof? Here is David's list of Ten Principles that Sound Like Simple No Brainers, But Directly Support Actions So Radical as to Invite Instant Dismissal:

1. The proper purpose of an economy is to secure just, sustainable, and joyful livelihoods for all.

2. GDP is a measure of the economic cost of producing a given level of human well-being and happiness. As with any well-run business, the proper goal is to minimize the costs of a given level of useful output, not to maximize them.

3. A rational reallocation of real resources can achieve the essential reduction in aggregate human consumption required to bring the human species into balance with Earth’s biosphere simultaneously with improving the health and happiness of all.

4. Markets allocate efficiently only within a framework of appropriate rules that maintain the necessary conditions of competition, cost internalization, balanced trade, domestic investment, and equality.

5. A proper money system roots the power to create and allocate money in people and communities to facilitate the creation of livelihoods and ecologically balanced community wealth.

6. Money, which is easily created with a simple accounting entry, should never be the deciding constraint in making resource allocation decisions.

7. Wall Street financial institutions devoted to speculation, the inflation of financial bubbles, risk externalization, the extraction of usury, and the use of creative accounting to create money from nothing unrelated to the creation of anything of real value serve no social purpose, are all forms of theft, and should be regulated or taxed out of existence.

8. Greed is not a virtue; sharing is not a sin. If your primary business purpose is not to serve the community, you have no business being in business.

9. The only legitimate reason for government to issue a corporate charter extending special privileges favoring a particular enterprise is to serve a clearly defined public purpose. That purpose should be clearly stated in its charter and subject to periodic review.

10. Public policy properly favors local investors and businesses dedicated to creating community wealth over investors and businesses that come only to extract it.

Energized? Offended? Chime in below!

82 comments:

The Old Wolf said...

One of the fundamental principles of a capitalist economy, to wit, charging what the market will bear, is the personification of greed. Ethical business practices begin at the cash register. If I buy an item for $2.00, selling it for $40.00 simply because people will pay that much is immoral and destructive.

I love your thoughts. A world that works for 100% of humanity, without ecological insult or disadvantage to anyone, will require an economic restructuring from the ground up.

Charlotte Ashlock said...

What a great list!

acamarota said...

The problem with Principle #7 is that institutions of great economic power, such as Goldman Sachs, have gained great political power as well and are firmly entrenched in society. Usurping this power requires a fight of disorganized citizens against highly organized greed, i.e. citizens will need to become organized to the degree necessary to gain enough power to disband these institutions. Organizing for a specific cause is relatively straight forward, such as for a protest against a war or G20 policies. Organizing for a principle woven into the fabric of society is quite another matter. Martin Luther King began this effort, and it will take someone of his stature to continue it.

Gary Brumback said...

David Korten is one of my favorite authors. I quote him extensively in a new work of mine. He is, for example, prominently included along with Aristotle and eight others in my synopsis of "creative economic thinking from A TO Z minus E for economists."

I am certain Dr. Korten knows that a new or old economy cannot be separated from a new or old social and political structure of a society.

Imagine that there exists a new society, "Alter America," somewhat analogous to the idea of the alter ego.

Anyway you look at it, in our Real America, the large corporate "id," joined at the purse with the large government "id" is slowly ruining the nation.

Alter America would be a mirror image of Real America. The primary purpose would be to show Americans what a democratic and egalitarian society (as opposed to a male-dominated regime) would look like by contrasting what Real America is doing with what Alter America would do instead. For example if Real America escalates a war, Alter America would denounce it loudly and widely and would tell the American people what it would do instead.

Alter America would be founded by a new Citizen’s Assembly for Peace.

The alter economic system would be democratic capitalism (e.g., community capitalists and local markets would be the norm).

There would be an alter Constitution. It would, for example, explicitly prevent corporate personhood and require federal chartering of corporations. It would also require a national referendum on whether to start a preemptive war or to escalate existing ones.

There would be an alter government, a mirror image of our real, present-day one. For example, it would not be a model of a either a hands-off or a hand-outs government.

Alter America’s president, a miniature legislator, and a Supreme Court would be chosen by the Citizen’s Assembly for Peace or by a real poll of Americans who believe in the idea of an Alter America. My ideal for the presidency would be someone like Riane Eisler, author of the Real Wealth of Nations, a board member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (www.wilpf.org), or a mother or wife of a loved one lost in battle who has become an anti-war activist.

There would be an alter agency for each real federal agency. A primary responsibility of certain alter agencies would be to promote non violence and to curb and penalize violence. For example, the alter “Department of [Quality and Universal] Education” would put a premium on early education on non-violence; the “Product Safety [and Toy] Commission” would provide restrictions on and disincentives for making and selling warrior toys and games; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and [Limited] Firearms would convince Americas of the Constitutional requirement for limited use of guns; and the “Federal [Truthful and Pacific] Communications Commission” would substantially curb the programming of violence into the mass media and would eliminate the advertising and propagandizing of the military.

Does Alter America sound fanciful? It certainly will to most. But anything conceivable is possible.

If you would like to know more about how to turn Real America into a Real Alter America, please let me know at democracypower@bellsouth.net.

Anonymous said...

"The proper purpose of an economy is to secure just, sustainable, and joyful livelihoods for all."

Some would scream SOCIALIST! Smarter people would scream PRACTICAL!

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