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If these services are free, at least for low-income individuals, they are an effective measure against poverty and exclusion. They strengthen social cohesion and the democratic community. On the other hand, there is no clear argument as to why government-run organizations would have to produce furniture, clothes, or food. Private companies can do this just as well, if not better, but under three conditions: the size of companies is regulated, common good balance sheets are compulsory, and inheritance is limited. These limits and conditions would, for example, prevent excessive concentration of private property and ensure that it be used for the common good.

The commons are another form of property and constitute a cultural practice that enhances both ecological and social values.

The commons should be protected by law. As we will discuss below, a national constitution can provide guidelines as to the role private property, public goods, and the commons should play. By social property, we mean companies that are controlled by their stakeholders— workers, customers, suppliers—but not investors that play none of these other roles.

The Common Good Balance Sheet and its consequent incentives encourage all companies to become more like social businesses, or even like the commons. There is one important exception to property rights and that involves nature. It was not humans who invented and created nature.

Pathology of the U.S. Economy: The Costs of a Low-Wage System

We are creations of nature. In order to respect our origin and fertile earth, ECG proposes that there can be limited and conditional use of nature for commercial use, but no ownership of nature. That would prevent phenomena like land grabbing, real estate speculation, intellectual property rights on living organisms such as genetically modified organisms , or massive deforestation. This is an overview of the most important types of property, their function, limits, and conditions.

Michael Perelman, On globalization, economics, and the history of food crises

These reflections and proposals are rooted in the idea that all types of property are not ends in themselves, but basic rights that serve higher values such as human rights and social justice. In the ECG we argue that it is of utmost importance to put limits on inequality. This can occur on many levels: income, property, inheritance, or the size of companies. According to a survey in the Financial Times and the Harris Poll, 78 percent of respondents in the US felt that inequality had increased too much. In the UK it was 79 percent, in China 80 percent, and in Germany 87 percent.

The international ECG movement uses an effective decision-making method called systemic consensus. It is a variant of consensus decision making and measures the amount of resistance to a proposal within a committee or larger group. Using this method, voters could, for example, determine the amount at which income should be limited. In systemic consensus, the first step is that all proposals presented to a given committee or group are voted on and the amount of opposition or aversion is measured.

Each voter can express their opposition in three ways. By not raising any arms, a person expresses her lack of any aversion or resistance. By raising one arm, a person expresses that she has some opposition. By raising both arms a voter says she is totally opposed to the proposal and cannot accept its passage. Usually there are various proposals on the same issue. The proposal wins which has the least opposition. ECG speakers have practiced this method with about 50, citizens from Sweden to Argentina to Chile.

Usually, a factor of ten was the most popular. The extremes of unlimited inequality as well as full equality frequently meet with strong resistance. Not surprisingly, a Swiss canton passed a law in limiting the highest salaries in public banks to ten times the amount of the lowest paid employee in the same bank.

The minimum wage and maximum income are meant to be legal limits, whereas everything in between can be left to negotiation in free markets. Similar to the business level, where profits become the means and the common good the end, priorities need to change in the realm of money and finances. Money should only be a means to reach a higher goal. In order to accomplish this, money needs to become a public good. This means first and oremost that the rules of the monetary system are set by the sovereign citizens.

In emocratically organized assemblies, the people define the cornerstones of a new monetary and financial system. In order to accomplish this, loan requests will be assessed not only according to financial risks but, more importantly, according to their common-good creditworthiness. Economists and finance experts regard an investment as successful if it generates a financial return. If the return on investment is double-digit, they regard it as particularly successful.

This concept of success is flawed. We cannot know how the investment affects working conditions, human rights, cultural diversity, or democratic principles. It is possible, in fact, that an investment yields extremely high returns but leads to job loss and environmental degradation. It could harm society in general and still be determined a success.

For this reason, financial institutions in an Economy for the Common Good will behave differently. The concept of return on investment will be reexamined. The validity of an investment will no longer be determined by monetary figures alone. The impact the loan plan has on a community, on the environment, and on working conditions will come to light.

The return has to be beneficial to society and nature.

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A new bottom line comes into play. Before granting a loan to a business or an individual, a bank will check the ethical creditworthiness. The customer will have to prove that the loan will not have a detrimental effect on the common good. Only if this ethical assessment is found to be positive, will the bank continue with the financial assessment.

If the loan request passes both examinations, the bank grants the loan. As a result of this new approach, borrowing costs will go down when the ethical value of an investment program goes up. Presently, borrowing costs go down when the financial credit risk goes down. Borrowers are rewarded when they prove they present little financial risk. In an ethics-based system, the borrowers are rewarded when they can prove that their project will benefit the public good and the environment.

If the investment is found to benefit the common good but the financial assessment is negative and the credit risk too high, the bank will probably refuse to grant the loan. In such cases, the loan plan could be handed over to cooperative banks or a crowd investment platform. When higher financial returns are the main motive for investment decisions, we again see a twisted interpretation of means and ends.

Financial gain is falsely viewed as a goal while the true goal, a safer and saner world, is lost. If we end the practice of judging creditworthiness strictly in financial terms, the logical goal and benefit for investors will become to increase the common good. All in all, this new financial system will discourage investment decisions that endanger our fundamental values and encourage investments that have the most positive impact on the common good.

They will not only be rewarded with a peaceful mind, but also with regional employment, meaningful jobs, strong and resilient local economies, reduced inequality and exclusion, and a large range of commons and companies that increase the common good. These concepts do not need to remain theoretical. These policy recommendations for the banking industry can already be implemented at the local or regional level. In the future we further envision these ideas being implemented at the national and international levels. In order to continue operating in the market, banks can be given a choice.

They can either become community-oriented, ethical, or cooperative banks, or they can be given access to the free market. Those banks that want to continue operating according to the old, capitalist model would be denied access to the public central bank, and would have reduced business with public authorities. If the sovereign citizens decided such, these banks could also be cut off from deposit insurance. They would probably have difficulty surviving on the market under such circumstances. As a consequence of the implementation of the principles and tools of the Economy for the Common Good, we foresee more diversity in the makeup of business entities, including:.

The ECG represents a new type of market economy. This can be seen in three areas:. First, it is a fully ethical market economy. Economic success will no longer be judged in strictly financial terms. We will, therefore, see the emergence of a social, sustainable, cooperative, democratic, human market economy. Second, it will be a truly liberal market economy in the sense that all market players will have equal rights, liberties, and opportunities.

Third, it will be a redesigned market economy in the sense that markets will continue to play an important role in satisfying basic needs, but not all of them. The new market economy will provide space for alternative cultural practices and alternative economic models designed to satisfy human needs. Examples are the care economy, gift economy, barter systems, local collaboration networks, urban gardening, peer-to-peer production, and the commons.

These new informal structures will become more important and will receive more societal recognition. If the average workweek for paid jobs is reduced to, for example, twenty hours, people will find time for other types of activities that are equally important to a good life. They will have more leisure time, more time to take care of family members, more time to work for their communities, and more time to participate in democratic decision making.

This requires more time and energy than is spent in our current democratic model. Many argue that democracy in Western countries is failing. In a true democracy, the sovereign people would be the highest authority—they would hold the ultimate power. A true sovereign would stand above the legislature, the government, every international treaty, and every single law. This would mean that the sovereign citizens could directly modify the constitution and all laws. The first sovereign right, the right of drafting a constitution, is the most important for the following reasons.

First, the ultimate democratic document, the constitution, shall be written only by the highest authority, the people, and by no one else. Second, if the constitution is written only by representatives of the citizens, they could award themselves additional powers and strip the people of their sovereign rights. When the people write the constitution, they determine the extent of power enjoyed by the legislative body and the government.

Third, the people could add certain fundamental cornerstones, and guidelines for the economy and democratic institutions directly into the constitution. As representatives of the people, the legislative body congress or parliament would retain the power to make laws. The people would become the constitutive power. Just as is the case today in democratic societies, laws would have to adhere to the constitutional framework.

The difference is that the constitution would come directly from the people. Today, we see a great divide between public opinion and public policy. Nor do people support the fact that capital is allowed to be freely transferred to tax havens, that patents are given on living organisms, or that genetically modified food is not labeled.

Once the aforementioned sovereign rights become reality, such divergences with public opinion will belong to the past. The assemblies prepare alternative proposals for each issue on the table. The sovereign citizens then make the final decision and choose the alternative of their preference. The proposal that meets the least resistance in the entire population is adopted. The process of creating such democratic institutions has been drafted by the ECG movement.

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The people would decide on questions like:. Utilizing their sovereign rights, the people could vote on a compulsory common good balance sheet for all companies.


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Korten When Corporations Rule the World , George Monbiot The Age of Consent , have argued that, at minimum, major corporations should only receive an operating license if their social, ecological, and ethical performance are deemed sufficient. Sovereign citizens could also conduct a referendum to put a limitation on income inequality.

Excessive pay is, unfortunately, the reality across the globe. InAustria, top executives are paid times as much as the lowest paid workers. This is another clear example that sovereign citizens would make very different decisions from their representatives on such key issues. International trade is also a critical issue in the transition to an economy oriented towards the common good, and is closely related to democratic, sovereign rights.

Local and national economies are strongly affected by globalization and trade. Trade—just like money, profits, and growth—has been viewed as an end in and of itself. Trade is, however, not the goal. It is simply a tool that we can use to further our universal goals of improving human rights, justice, sustainability, and democracy.

Here are some of the questions that should be at the forefront of all trade agreements:. If questions like these can be affirmed, then more trade should be welcomed. If the planned agreements endanger these values and the common good, then less trade would be better. In order to determine whether the trade partners satisfy the requirements of a particular trade agreement, instruments such as various UN resolutions, human rights conventions, the Kyoto Protocol and the International Labor Organization ILO could be used.

Those countries which have ratified and continue to respect these agreements would be able to trade more freely. In addition, tariffs could be progressively raised against countries that have violated the relevant international agreements.

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In addition, countries with higher standards could protect their Ethical Common Market by asking companies who want access to the market to provide a Common Good Balance Sheet. The outcome in such an ethical trade zone would be similar to the situation at the business level when companies complete a Common Good Balance Sheet.

Trade then turns into a positive and beneficial instrument for sustainable development and ethical business. Such freedom of choice at the national level is not simply a utopian idea. The aforementioned country of Bhutan considered membership at the WTO in In the beginning, a clear majority of the population was in favor because more trade would have led to more business and economic growth.

But after having seen the effect it would have had on the Gross National Happiness, the situation changed. In the end the government voted against joining the WTO.

The Common Good Balance Sheet is not meant to replace other policy instruments to achieve sustainable development. On the contrary, the challenge of deep sustainability is so big that a highly diverse policy mix is needed to obtain the ambitious goal of a sustainable human civilization. Unfortunately, most policy measures to date, from carbon taxes to subsidies for renewable energy and organic agriculture, have been relatively ineffectual. National estimates for this occupation Industry profile for this occupation Geographic profile for this occupation. Industries with the highest published employment and wages for this occupation are provided.

For a list of all industries with employment in this occupation, see the Create Customized Tables function. States and areas with the highest published employment, location quotients, and wages for this occupation are provided. For a list of all areas with employment in this occupation, see the Create Customized Tables function. US Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Search: Search button. Occupational Employment and Wages, May Speech-Language Pathologists Assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders.