Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Economy of the Common Good

According to an opinion poll in Germany and Austria, nearly 90 per cent of the population want an “alternative economic order”.  The author and political activist Christian Felber developed the basis for the Economy of the Common Good in his book Neue Werte für die Wirtschaft. Eine Alternative zu Kommunismus und Kapitalismus (New Values for the Economy. An Alternative to Communism and Capitalism) in 2008. In response to this publication, numerous entrepreneurs have come together in order to refine the model together with Christian Felber and have termed it “Economy of the Common Good”.
The Economy of the Common Good (ECG) want to change the driving entrepreneurial motivation shift from the pursuit of profit towards the pursuit of the common good and from competition to cooperation.

You can download a short summary of the 20 most important elements of the ECG.

And listen to an informative lecture by Christian Felber here

Some 200 companies are now busy implementing the concept. Initially they hope to attract consumers to buy the products from the companies voluntarily. However, a market based on profit-seeking and competition will not be able to reward good behaviours fully, so the initiative also promotes incentives and tax benefits for companies that follow the code of the Economy of the Common Good. 

While the proposal sounds reformist and not so radical, they don't fall far from being a "revolution" as they suggest abolishment of financial markets, private profit and want to redistribute wealth and income radically. Christian Felber underlines that any change should take place in a constitutional and democratic way. I appreciate in particular the clear analysis of the combined damage by profit-seeking and competition, which I also state in my book Garden Earth.

As a result of my long experience in the organic market and other sustainability markets I am less optimistic about how useful the various indicators and measurements they propose are in this context. Even more so as it is proposed to tie advantages such as:
‐ Lower taxes
‐ Reduced customs duties (e.g Fair Trade)
‐ Loans on more favorable terms
‐ Priority in public procurement
‐ Research cooperation with public universities
to companies based on their score in the Common Welfare Score. I simply don't believe in those kinds of ranking and scoring systems, and even less to have them as a basis for policies.

1 comment:

  1. You can learn more on the economy of the common good on this webpage: www.ecg-documentary.com @ECGDocumentary