1. People over profit: An economic democracy is an economy that subordinates profit to people, not the other way around.
2. Stakeholders over shareholders: An economic democracy is an economic system in which the voices, rights, and interests of all economic stakeholders — including employees, stockholders, communities, ecosystems, other species and future generations — are represented. Unlike our current economy where shareholders are given primacy, in an economic democracy no one stakeholder is granted a disproportionate degree of power and privilege.
3. Better not bigger: In order to reorient the economy towards people and all stakeholders, we have to release it from the captivity of profit. In an economy geared towards GDP growth, the bottom line is the bottom line, and protecting it means suppressing wages, slashing payrolls, passing on costs to other people, other places, and other times. Most importantly, our economy has outgrown the physical limits of the planet, and saving civilization means stopping growth. A democratic economy should be a steady-state economy where existing wealth is distributed fairly, and where economic health is measured by true indicators of social welfare rather than the blunt and archaic tool of GDP. The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy is a useful resource for steady-state solutions.
4. Main Street not Wall Street : The design of our financial system undermines true markets and productive community-based enterprises in favor of reckless speculation. It is designed to suck wealth away from communities and towards the corporate elite. A good blueprint here is the New Economy Working Group’s report How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule.
5. One employee, one vote: An economic democracy is an economy where companies are built around the concept of one worker, one vote. In an economic democracy a company is a community of employees, where the employees, as full citizens of that community and the true source of company profit, decide how to invest that profit in the community. In this way, an economic democracy is distinct from both capitalism and socialism — both variations of economic oligarchy — where private boards on the one hand and public bureaucrats on the other decide how the profits workers generate are disposed of.
6. Economic Constitutionalism: In the United States Constitution the framers properly defined the powers and limits to the powers of the powerful institutions that govern our society. In an age where corporations have become as powerful as any institution of government, and have amassed undue influence over the policies of those institutions, their powers need to be defined and constitutionally limited just like any institution of government.
|Photo: David Shankbone|
Wow! In the Norwegian media the newspapers are full of articles about Occupying Wall Street as just a protest movement without any direction or substance. But these principles are brilliant!
I really hope the protesters will not subscribe to any kind of ideology, to repeat the 20th century of ideologies. Let the 21th century become the century not of ideology, but of sustainable, living technology. Not the technology of death, which in combination with ideology has destroyed our world.
For this purpose I’ll strongly encourage all participants of this movement (and all others) to read the absolutely fabulous series Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros are running in Metropolis Magazine these days: The Technologies of Christopher Alexander.
Personally I don’t think it’s occasionally (although not intended) these series are released in these changing times. I see the technologies developed by Christopher Alexander as fundamental for a sustainable future of our societies and our planet.
Please read these series and circulate them!