In this post Diego Isabel La Moneda, Coordinator of International Strategy at Economy for the Common Good, speaks about the need for a shift in focus: away from striving to increase economic profits and towards increasing the common good and wellbeing of the entire population. Diego will be sharing his ideas further at a talk co-hosted by NOW in Totnes, Devon, UK, on Wednesday 11th June at the Totnes Methodist Church at 7.30pm. (If you would like further information about this talk please feel free to contact us).
By Diego Isabel La Moneda, Economy for the Common Good
The pursuit of money and economic profit characterises our society and our lives. Companies struggle to improve their financial balance sheets, governments focus their efforts on increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and people strive for higher wages and dream of winning the lottery as a solution to all their problems.
The Economy for the Common Good is inspired by the concept that it is a fallacy that acquiring wealth will help us. The Economy for the Common Good (ECG) proposes a simple and revolutionary change in the main aim of our society. It proposes to shift from striving to increase economic profits to instead striving to increase the common good and wellbeing of the entire population. In order to accomplish this goal, the ECG suggests a change in methodology, shifting from competition – the method used in the current model to increase economic profit – to cooperation.
The concept was born after the publication of Christian Felber´s book “The Economy for the Common Good” in 2010. (Christian Felber is pictured above on the left, together with Diego and a copy of his book). In less than four years, an international social movement has flourished and spread throughout the world based on the inspiring ideas Felber shared in his book. Today there are active supporters in 30 countries and more than 1600 companies have endorsed the idea. Over 100 local groups also meet regularly on the local level. Moreover, in 2013 the first municipalities in Italy, Austria and Spain began the process of becoming Common Good Cities.
Creating Tools for Change
The holistic change proposed by The Economy for the Common Good is being developed in three areas: People, companies/organizations and governments. For this reason, several tools are being developed in a cooperative way in order to facilitate these changes at different levels.
The first tool developed was the Common Good Matrix which aims at helping companies and organizations to shift towards a focus on the common good. This Matrix consists of 17 indicators, and these indicators are the result of crossing the five main values of the Economy for the Common Good - human dignity, solidarity, ecological sustainability, social justice and transparency/democracy - with the stakeholders of the organizations. These include suppliers, investors, staff, owners, clients and the social environment.
The result of applying the Matrix and assessing the indicators can be seen as an improvement plan for the business, and is expressed in a scheme of points between 0 and 1000. The assessment is drawn up in the Balance of the Common Good, a public document that is communicated to all the stakeholders and to the public.
As the Economy for the Common Good movement is a bottom up organization, new tools are being developed in a cooperative and democratic fashion. An example of this is the adaptation of the Matrix for municipalities, and the Common Good Index which is designed and implemented by each one of the communities across the world choosing to participate.
Citizens join and ask themselves the question, what does the common good and wellbeing mean for us? And from that point they start to define common good and wellbeing both in a general way and in a specific one for each main field of their lives: education, health, environment, relationships, spirituality, professional development, etc.
Working Together for the Common Good
One main challenge for Economy for the Common Good, and for other organizations that are working towards a better world, is to cooperate and work together. We must put aside our egos and start to collaborate in order to achieve our common goals. I strongly believe that the Economy for the Common Good has the potential to contribute to changing the focus of the current political, economic and social systems from maximising profits to maximising the common good, as well as to shift from a competitive society to a cooperative one. For the rest of the tools, actions and methodologies our challenge as “world changers” is to start to work together in the different fields where each organization is specialised. Networks such as Global Ecovillage Network, Transition Towns and more recently NOW are already aiming to walk this collaborative path. It is a collaborative and cooperative approach that Economy for the Common Good hopes to support, promote and engage with.
I believe an alternative to capitalism is on the agenda and it is called the Economy for the Common Good. The more organizations that embrace this alternative, the faster we will be able to build a better and more egalitarian world for everybody.
How to Get Involved
Short bio about the author of this post, Diego Isabel La Moneda:
Diego is a social entrepreneur who set up his first company at the age of 26 and has developed projects in fields such as Sustainable Development, Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Management both with private companies and public institutions and governments. He is the President of the NGO FUNDACIÓN EMOTIVA that promotes social business and international cooperation. In addition to this, in June 2013 Diego became the International Coordinator for Strategy of the International Movement Economy for the Common Good.
Diego is also the author of the book “Yo Soy Tú: Propuesta para una Nueva Sociedad” (2013), co-author of “Dentro de 15 años” (2014), and writes in www.yosoytu.com. Plus, he is a lecturer and teacher in several Universities and Master programs on Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility in Spain and South America.