17/12/2012

The Common Welfare Economy

The Common Welfare Economy is an economic system based on values that favour social welfare. These values are already covered in the large majority of national constitutions and guaranteed by law (justice, equal opportunities, etc) so really what is actually being proposed is just putting them into practice. It is a real alternative (many companies have been following its principles since it was created in 2010) and a force for social, economic and political change.

According to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation, 80% of Germans and 90% of Austrians expect a new economic order to appear. The economist and university professor Christian Felber, interviewed in the video, developed an alternative to current systems in his book ‘New values ​​for the economy’ (Deuticke, 2008), in order to escape the sterile dichotomy which holds that ‘who is against Capitalism, is for Communism’ and offer a specific and viable system for the future. Subsequently, these approaches were reviewed and refined by a group of entrepreneurs who, along with Felber himself inaugurated the movement with the publication of the book ‘Economics for the Common Welfare (Deuticke, 2010), which reflects its founding principles, and which can be summed up by the following 20 points:

1. The Economy of the Common Welfare is based on values ​​that make our personal relationships thrive: trust, cooperation, affection, democracy, solidarity… Numerous studies and research concur that achieving satisfying relationships is the main source of motivation and happiness in human beings.

2. The economic legal framework undergoes a radical shift, changing the equation ‘Profit + Competition’ to ‘Desire for public welfare + Cooperation’. Entrepreneurs with a spirit of cooperation are rewarded, and competitive behaviour is penalised.

3. Economic success is not measured by prioritizing the amount of money obtained, but with the Common Welfare Balance Sheet (CWBS, on a company level) and the Common Welfare Product (CWP, on a system level). The Common Good Balance becomes the principal balance of all companies and the more social, ecological, democratic and committed the activity, the better the results. Improving the results of the Common Welfare Balance Sheet of a country’s companies improves their Common Welfare Product.

4. Companies with healthy Common Welfare Balance Sheets enjoy legal advantages: reduced tax rates, advantageous tariffs, cheap loans, privileges in public procurement, concessions in research programs, etc. The entry into the market is therefore more favourable for ethical products and services than for those are not.

5. The balance sheet is secondary, changing from an end in itself into the way to increase the ‘new’ business purpose: contribution to the Common Welfare. Balance surpluses should be used to finance investments with social and ecological gains, loan payback, deposits in limited reserves or limited bonuses to employees, as well as interest free loans for cooperating companies. No surplus will be used as bonuses for people who do not work in the company, for hostile takeovers of other firms, investment in financial markets (which will cease to exist) or contributions to political parties.

6. As financial gain is now a means and not an end, companies can have and maintain their own optimum size. They do not need to be afraid of takeovers or feel forced to grow to be bigger, stronger or show greater profits. All companies are freed from the pressure of the growth or buy–outs.

7. With companies being able to grow to their optimum size without fear, there will be many small businesses in all sectors. With no pressure to grow, it will be easier for them to cooperate together. They can help each other with knowledge, technology, commissions, staff or interest–free loans. They will be rewarded with positive results in the Common Welfare Balance Sheet. Companies create a disinterested learning community and the economy becomes a win–win system.

8. Differences in income and assets will be regulated: the maximum income limited to 20 times the minimum wage; properties may not exceed a 10 million euro value; the right of transfer and inheritance will be up to €500,000 per person, and up to 10 million euros per child in family businesses. Any surplus generated beyond these limits will be distributed as ‘democratic endowment’ for future generations: equality in the initial capital means greater equality of opportunity (the exact margins must be defined democratically in an economic assembly).

9. In large companies, over a certain number of workers (e.g., over 250) the rights of decision and ownership move over partially and gradually to employees and citizens. The population can be represented directly through ‘regional economic parliaments’. The government has no right to intervene or make decisions in public companies.

10. This is equally true for the democratic commons, the third property category together with a majority of small and medium businesses and large mixed ownership firms. For democratic commons we understand public institutions in the fields of education, health, social welfare, transport, energy and communication: society’s basic infrastructures.

11. A major democratic commons is the democratic bank. It serves, like all companies, the Common Welfare and, like all of them, is controlled by the people and not by the government. Its services include guaranteed savings deposits, free checking accounts, reduced interest loans and social risk loans. Financial markets will no longer exist as we now know them.

12. Based on John Maynard Keynes’ proposal in 1944, a global monetary cooperation is established based on a unit of calculation (‘Globo’ or ‘Terra’) for international trade. Locally, regional currencies can complement the national currency. To protect against unfair competition, the EU becomes a fair trade zone (Common Welfare Area) with harmonized standards or where customs duties are linked to with the CGBS of the producing company. A long–term goal is a Common Welfare Area in the United Nations.

13. Nature is given its own value, and cannot be turned into private property. When somebody needs a piece of land to live, to cultivate or for business, they are given a limited amount for free or paying a usage fee. The use of the land is conditioned by ecological criteria and limited to its specific use. This will end building speculation, land-grabbing and large–scale individual land ownership. In consequence, taxation on land ownership will be eliminated.

14. Economic growth ceases to be an end in itself, improving the ecological footprint of people, companies and nations. Kant’s catagorical imperitive will be extended to the environmental dimension. Our freedom of to choose a specific lifestyle will be limited when it in itself limits the freedom of others to choose the same lifestyle or to live in dignity. People and companies will be encouraged to measure their ecological footprint and reduce it to a sustainable and fair global level.

15. The working week will be gradually reduced towards the figure (agreed upon by the majority) of 25–30 hours per week. Therefore there will be free time for other areas of highly important work: relationships, caregiving (of children, the sick and the elderly), personal growth (self–improvement, the arts, leisure activities) and political and public activity.

16. Every tenth year will be taken as a sabbatical that will be financed by a minimum wage with no obligations attached. People can do whatever they wish in this period. This measure will reduce the burden on the labour market and make European Community unemployment levels fall by 10%.

17. Representative democracy will be complemented by direct participatory democracy. The people must be able to control and correct their own representation, enact laws themselves, amend constitutions and manage supply infrastructures (railways, post office system, banks, etc). In a real democracy, the interests of the people and its representatives are identical. A basic requirement for this is for the people to have the freedom of collaboration and control.

18. All major points must mature through intense discussions on a broad popular base before becoming laws made by an directly elected economic assembly: the outcome will be voted democratically by the people. What is accepted will be introduced in the constitution and can only be modified once again by the people’s will. Apart from the Economic Assembly of the Common Welfare, there will be other assemblies to study democracy in depth: a education convention, a communication media convention and a convention for the creation of democratic goods.

19. To establish in children the values ​​of the Economy of the Common Welfare and provide them with tools so that they can learn, the following subjects will be introduced in educational programs: emotionology, ethics, communication, democratic education and the experience of nature.

20. Given that in the Common Welfare Economy the concept of business success means something quite different to its present day meaning, other forms of management shall be established: those individuals most responsible and competent, the most empathetic and sensitive, those who think and feel in an ecological and social manner, will be in higher demand and will become role model for society.

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array(4) { [0]=> object(WP_Post)#1760 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4932) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-06-24 00:01:29" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-06-23 22:01:29" ["post_content"]=> string(3378) "En 2011 el realizador Adam Curtis creó para la BBC una serie documental de tres capítulos que sostiene que las computadoras no sólo no han conseguido el viejo sueño de mejorar la Humanidad, sino que han 'distorsionado y simplificado nuestra visión sobre el mundo que nos rodea'. El sugerente título de la serie está tomado del poema homónimo escrito en 1967 por Richard Brautigan: 'All watched over by machines of loving grace' —Todo vigilado por máquinas de gracia divina—. Este primer episodio, 'El amor y el poder', analiza los efectos de las ideas de la escritora y filósofa Ayn Rand en los mercados financieros estadounidenses, especialmente a través de la influencia de Alan Greenspan, presidente de la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos de 1987 a 2006. 'El uso y abuso de los conceptos de vegetación' investiga cómo se aplicaron ideas surgidas del trabajo con máquinas —como la cibernética o la teoría de sistemas— a ecosistemas naturales, para tratar de construir sociedades sin un control central, redes autoorganizadas compuestas por personas, y cómo eso está relacionado con la falsa idea de que existe un equilibrio en la Naturaleza. 'El mono en la máquina y la máquina en el mono' se centra en la teoría del gen egoísta, creada por William D. Hamilton, que sostiene que los seres humanos somos máquinas controladas por nuestros genes.In 2011 the filmmaker Adam Curtis created for the BBC a documentary series of three chapters which holds that computers not only have failed in getting the old dream of improving Mankind, but have 'distorted and simplified our view of the world around us'. The suggestive title of the series is taken from the homonymous poem written in 1967 by Richard Brautigan: 'All watched over by machines of loving grace'. In this first episode, 'Love and power', Curtis tracks the effects of writer and philosopher Ayn Rand's ideas on American financial markets, particularly via the influence on Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006. 'The use and abuse of vegetational concepts' investigates how machine ideas such as cybernetics and systems theory were applied to natural ecosystems, and how this relates to the false idea that there is a balance of nature. Cybernetics has been applied to human beings to attempt to build societies without central control, self organising networks built of people, based on a fantasy view of nature. 'The monkey in the machine and the machine in the monkey' looked into The Selfish Gene Theory, which was conceived by William D. Hamilton and holds that we humans are machines controlled by our own genes. " ["post_title"]=> string(110) "Máquinas, monos, amor y vegetaciónMachines, monkeys, love and vegetation" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(36) "machines-monkeys-love-and-vegetation" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2020-02-19 00:51:02" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-02-18 23:51:02" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=4932" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#1754 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(2599) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2012-06-18 00:01:41" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2012-06-17 22:01:41" ["post_content"]=> string(1040) "'Para que el futuro no sea desolador tenemos que actuar ahora'. Ingeniero agrónomo de formación, ha desarrollado su carrera en el mundo de la consultoría en Andersen Consulting, siendo socia de Accenture del 2001 al 2005. Posteriormente ejerció como directora general de Operaciones en Aon, líder en España en consultoría de riesgos y broker de seguros. Desde el 2010 forma parte de Zurich Financial Services, donde actualmente es CEO del centro de excelencia desde el que la compañía desarrolla su plataforma de sistemas para Europa.'For avoid a gloomy future we must act now'. Agronomist of training, has developed her career in the world of consulting at Andersen Consulting, being Accenture partner from 2001 to 2005. Later she worked as Chief Operating Officer at Aon, Spain's leading risk advisor and insurance broker. Since 2010 is part of Zurich Financial Services, where she is currently CEO of the center of excellence from which the company develops its systems platform for Europe." ["post_title"]=> string(110) "WHAT ABOUT: El futuro por Ana BarandaWHAT ABOUT: The future by Ana Baranda" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(36) "what-about-the-future-by-ana-baranda" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2021-05-05 18:00:07" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2021-05-05 16:00:07" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=2599" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#1762 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(3396) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2012-11-05 00:01:35" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2012-11-04 23:01:35" ["post_content"]=> string(7474) "En su ensayo 'Las posibilidades económicas de nuestros nietos', de 1930, el economista británico John Maynard Keynes predijo que al cabo de un siglo las sociedades industrializadas habrían progresado tanto que sus avances tecnológicos permitirían a las personas vivir con desahogo, sin apenas necesidad de trabajar, y que eso proporcionaría la felicidad. W_keynes
El bueno de Keynes predijo que la industrialización traería como consecuencia la felicidad humana —Foto Unknown Author
Casi ese siglo después y tomando como punto de partida ese ensayo, Robert Skidelsky, historiador económico y reputado biógrafo del creador del keynesianismo, ha publicado junto a su hijo y filósofo Edward el libro '¿Cuánto es suficiente?', en el que reflexionan sobre el sistema económico actual y el alejamiento de la sociedad del concepto de 'buena vida', algo que los seres humanos han intentado perfilar a lo largo de los tiempos, desde la Grecia clásica hasta el cristianismo o el marxismo. Según el libro, el progreso y la fuerte mejora en las condiciones de vida que siguieron a la Segunda Guerra Mundial se torcieron en los años 80, cuando Ronald Reagan y Margaret Tatcher establecieron el crecimiento de la economía como fin en sí mismo y no como un medio para la consecución de la buena vida de las personas. Ese indicador de crecimiento, que no tiene en cuenta otras preocupaciones del ciudadano como la salud, el ocio o el Medio Ambiente, tuvo un triunfo rápido y contundente sobre el resto de fines de la economía debido al espectacular aumento en el nivel de vida de las décadas de los 60 y 70 y a la cercanía al pleno empleo en las sociedades occidentales. 'En tales circunstancias, el pensamiento económico quedaba libre para concentrarse en la eficiencia de la eficiencia de la producción'. W_dinero
Unos cuantos miles de dólares americanos —Foto Unknown Author
La buena vida, a diferencia de la felicidad —algo privado y psicológico, no siempre conectado con las condiciones de vida— se basa para los Skidelsky en una serie de elementos básicos que el Estado debería promover, aunque corresponde a los ciudadanos disfrutar y desarrollar por completo: salud, seguridad —física o económica—, respeto, personalidad —libertad para actuar con autonomía—, armonía con la naturaleza, amistad —lazos afectivos con los demás— y ocio —lo que se hace porque sí, no por obligación o con un fin—. Los autores son optimistas sobre el futuro. Frente a la confusión entre necesidad y deseo que parece imperar, proponen una renovación ética, más políticas sociales y la reducción de la presión por consumir o la publicidad que altera la libre elección del ciudadano. Creen que hoy nos encontramos mejor preparados que nunca para esa buena vida: materialmente estamos mucho mejor que en los años 30 y el conocimiento es accesible a mucha más gente, dos factores que combinados con el despertar ético que puede suponer esta crisis económica podrían dejar a las sociedades avanzadas en una mejor posición de partida que la de Keynes en 1930.In his essay 'Economic possibilities for our grandchildren', in 1930, the British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that within a century industrialized societies have progressed so far that its technological advances allow people to live comfortably, with little need for work, and that provide happiness. W_keynes
A quite enthusiastic Keynes predicted that industrialization would result in human happiness —Photo Unknown Author
Almost a century later and taking that essay as a starting point, Robert Skidelsky, economic historian and biographer reputed creator of Keynesianism, published with his son and philosopher Edward the book 'How much is enough?', which reflect on the current economic system and society away from the concept of 'good life', something that humans have tried profiling over time, from classical Greece to Christianity or Marxism. According to the book, strong progress and improvement in living conditions that followed World War II were twisted in the 80's, when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher set economic growth as an end in itself and not as a means of achieving the good life of the people. That growth indicator, which does not take into account other citizen concerns such as health, leisure or the environment, had a quick and decisive victory over the other end of the economy due to the dramatic increase in the standard of living of the decades of 60 and 70 and proximity to full employment in Western societies. 'In these circumstances, the economic thought was free to concentrate on the efficiency of the production efficiency.' W_dinero
A few thousand US dollars —Photo Unknown Author
The good life, as opposed to happiness —something private and psychological, not always connected to the living conditions—, for Skidelsky is based on a number of basic elements that the state should promote, while it is for citizens to enjoy and develop full: health, security —physical or economic—, respect, personality —freedom to act autonomously—, harmony with nature, friendship —bond with others— and leisure —what is done for its own sake, not out of obligation or an end—. The authors are optimistic about the future. Faced with the confusion between need and desire that seems to dominate, proposed ethical renewal, more social policies and reducing the pressure to consume or altering advertising freedom to choose. They believe that we are now better prepared than ever for the good life: we are materially better than in the 30s and knowledge is accessible to many more people, two factors that combined with the ethical awakening can make this economic crisis could leave advanced societies in a better starting position than Keynes in 1930." ["post_title"]=> string(79) "¿Cuánto es suficiente?How much is enough?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(18) "how-much-is-enough" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2020-03-03 02:08:07" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-03-03 01:08:07" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=3396" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#1878 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(2938) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2012-07-09 00:05:51" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2012-07-08 22:05:51" ["post_content"]=> string(3789) "Noam Chomsky es un lingüista, filósofo y activista estadounidense. Profesor emérito de lingüística en el MIT —Instituto Tecnológico de Massachusetts—, está considerado una de las figuras más destacadas en dicha especialidad gracias a sus trabajos sobre teoría lingüística y ciencia cognitiva, como la Jerarquía de Chomsky. Doctor Honoris Causa por la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, la Universidad de la Frontera de Chile y la Universidad Autónoma de México, el periódico The New York Times llegó a definirlo como 'el más importante de los pensadores contemporáneos'. Aunque quizá la faceta más popular de Chomsky sea su firme compromiso con la política, que comenzó en los años de la guerra de Vietnam y le llevó a afiliarse al sindicato IWW / Industrial Workers of the World —Trabajadores Industriales del Mundo—. Su activismo está caracterizado por una fuerte crítica al capitalismo contemporáneo, a la política exterior de Estados Unidos e Israel y a la manipulación de la población por parte de la élites económicas y los gobiernos. Uno de sus principales aportes intelectuales en el ámbito de la política ha sido el análisis de los medios de comunicación y los enfoques sesgados, o incluso engaños, que percibe detrás de su supuesta neutralidad. Se trata de un trabajo de contrainformación que ha inspirado a muchos otros autores y ha sido plasmado en obras como el ensayo 'Los guardianes de la libertad' —Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media—, escrito en 1988 en colaboración con el economista y profesor de la Universidad de Pennsylvania Edward S. Herman. En este vídeo se cuestiona si los miembros de una sociedad democrática bombardeada constantemente con técnicas de marketing pueden ser capaces de escoger libremente.Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher and activist. Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the MIT —Massachusetts Institute of Technology—, he is considered one of the leading figures in this field thanks to his work on linguistic theory and cognitive science, as the Chomsky Hierarchy. Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad de la Frontera de Chile and the Universidad Autónoma de México, The New York Times once defined him as 'one of the most important contemporary thinkers'. But perhaps the most popular aspect of Chomsky is his strongly committment to politics that began in the years of the Vietnam War and led him to join the union IWW / Industrial Workers of the World. His activism is characterized by a strong criticism of contemporary capitalism, the United States’ and Israel foreign policy and the manipulation of the population by the economic elites and governments. One of its main intellectual contributions in the field of politics has been the analysis of the media and biased approaches, or even cheating, that he perceives behind his supposed neutrality. This is a work of disinformation that has inspired many other authors and has been reflected in works like the essay 'Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media', written in 1988 in collaboration with the economist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Edward S. Herman. This video questions whether members of a democratic society, bombed with marketing techniques, may be able to choose freely." ["post_title"]=> string(116) "¿Son compatibles democracia y marketing?Are democracy and marketing compatible?" 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