Diego Isabel La Moneda explains The Economy for the Common Good, an interesting new business and economic movement coming from Austria. The idea is simple -- the economic system and the enterprises operating within in should be oriented toward benefiting the common good. The ECG programme outlines practical steps for business, and eventually, governments to make this happen. Over 1400 partner companies in Austria, Germany Switzerland and Spain have joined this budding network. Will this work in the UK? In Totnes? Click to watch and find out. This talk was organised by Network Of Wellbeing, Schumacher College and Transition Town Totnes REconomy Project.
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These guidelines are to give pioneer companies some orientation for drawing up the Common Good Report (CGR). For a meaningful report we need two to three sentences per sub-indicator with corresponding parameters. Some of the overviews were inserted in table form; they help to give the reader a good overview of the Common Good Report. Many companies do a lot for the common good. The CG Report must conform to the principle of written form to facilitate its assessment. This means that all actions must be recorded in the report. The task is to consciously write down, document and communicate what is taken for granted within the company. This will make it possible for the CG Report to convey a comprehensive picture of the company and contribute a lot to the company’s own self-awareness.
"The Economy for the Common Good" comprises the basic elements of an alternative economic framework. It employs three approaches: 1. Market values and social values should no longer oppose each other. The same values that contribute to fulfilling interpersonal relationships should be awarded in the economy. 2. Conformity with the constitution. The economy should function in accordance with the values and objectives established by the constitutions of western democracies, which is currently not the case. 3. Economic success should no longer be measured with monetary indicators (financial profit, GDP), but by what is really important, i.e. utility values (basic needs, quality of life, communal values) Market values and social values should no longer oppose each other.
This report explores the complex issues hidden behind two simple questions: what is progress and what is prosperity? It argues that GDP is an insufficient and misleading measure of whether life in Scotland is improving or not. The report takes the findings of the 2009 Stiglitz Report, which emerged from the Commission set up by President Sarkozy to advise on how better to measure economic performance and social progress. It recommends that the new Scottish Government applies these to creating a performance framework better able to deliver, measure and report on economic performance, quality of life, sustainability and well-being. The report also shows that over-reliance on GDP as a measure makes it difficult for politicians to back policies that are good for society or the environment if they might hamper an increase in GDP.
We are entering the current critical historical juncture with the encouraging finding of peoples’ resistance and proposals. The ancient cultures of the various peoples of Asia, Oceania, Africa, and Latin America have constantly challenged, in practice and in theory, the conceptions of the allegedly linear and upward historical course of development of humankind characteristic of Eurocentric, and then North American modernity, which had condemned them, as outdated remains of the archaic and as survival of the backward, to inexorable improvement or extinction. In this paradox of what is supposedly archaic and backward in theory but emerges empirically with stubborn novelty and validity, there is at stake part of humankind’s current need to design new forms of knowledge and understanding that can question the pillars of hegemonic civilization, now in crisis, and make it possible to deconstruct and surmount them. This crisis, multiple and comprehensive, is generating objective material conditions that make it possible to see as current and pressing the alternative knowledge of other cultures that had emerged in parallel, separate, and distinct forms, and that had become highly developed. Although there existed in them relations of domination and conflict, they were of a very different nature from those of Western Europe and the United States, and these were secondary to social-regulation principles that combined social and environmental justice in support of harmony and balance in the world and the cosmos.
Good Living cannot be improvised, it must be planned. Good Living is the style of life that enables happiness and the permanency of cultural and environmental diversity; it is harmony, equality, equity and solidarity. It is not the quest for opulence or infinite economic growth.
Though the link between steady state economics and international solidarity may not be immediately obvious, the two issues are closely connected in many ways. Steady state economics is all about local and regional economies and learning to be more self-sufficient, but that doesn’t mean we stop caring about those beyond our borders. The de-linking of Manchester’s economy from the global economy has to happen with one eye on our local communities and another on the underprivileged communities that the global system of trade currently has in its fold. As such, one important question that we have to answer when looking at steady-state economies is: how do we manage the transition to steady state in ways that minimises exploitation of people of the global South, and also minimise the shocks to their economies and livelihoods?
Focus on the Global South recently undertook a series of exploratory discussions with indigenous peoples, social movements and civil society organizations in Asia to see what can be learned about the concept of “Vivir Bien” as developed in South America; how similar concepts are practiced throughout Asian societies, and whether these concepts can provide feasible alternatives to the neoliberal model. This publication is based on those discussions, which occurred in Thailand, India and the Philippines in the first months of 2013. While found at the opposite ends of the Earth, Asia and Latin America have many parallel experiences in modern history, such as being governed by neoliberal policies creating widespread social and ecological damage in the name of economic growth. Social movements in both regions have responded by developing alternatives that promote the welfare of people and the planet over the interests of corporations and international capital. One such alternative which has gained much attention in recent years is Vivir Bien, or Living Well, developed from common beliefs of indigenous peoples in South America.
The recovery of ancestral practices, knowledge, and wisdom of the indigenous peoples, focused on the common well-being and the reunion between human beings and nature, has been injected in the debate over development, and in the name of Good Living, or Living Well, they are established as alternatives. Emanating from the Andean cosmovision, these concepts are based on principles of complementarity and reciprocity, where respect for life and Mother Earth is fundamental to maintain an equilibrium and establish harmony between human beings and nature. In Bolivia it is termed Good Living, a concept derived from suma qamaña in Aymara. For Bolivian Chancellor David Choquehuanca, this life style “signifies complementing each other and not competing, sharing and not taking advantage (of others), living in harmony among people and with nature”.
This paper is part of a broad effort to elaborate an inspiring and rigorous global visión for the future, and to identify a path forward. The paper has three major sections. The background section highlights data and findings relevant to the pursuit of well-being. The vision section describes a world in which successful pursuit of well-being in the norm. Finally, the pathways section articulates a multi-part strategy to foster interest in time affluence and to support its pursuit.