Re: Demcracy For Economics: a worthy proposal? FWD

Homeless Action Coalition (
Sat, 21 Nov 1998 12:32:13 -0800

Tom, HPN - I've responded briefly, what do others think?

tom m. @ hac

At 01:18 AM 11/20/98 -0400, Tom Boland wrote:
>What do you think of the proposals for democratizing economic decisions in
>the forwarded article below?
>>>1) ALL corporation$ must be REPLACED with COOPERATIVES.

I believe we will see more and more cooperatively based organizations in the
future (Or else disparity will get worse with more and more capital [land
and resources] condensed into the hands of fewer and fewer with increasing
misery and hardship for the masses.)  I DO NOT believe that corporations
MUST be replaced with cooperatives.  I DO believe the way toward a more
equitably distributed future begins with acknowledgement of, and respect
for, basic human rights.  A good place to start might be with actually
acknowledging and proclaiming the United Nations Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. The UNDHR states in Article 25 that:  "Everyone has the right
to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himslef
and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care....".
The UNDHR was adopted by the UN General Assembly 50 years ago on December
10th of this year, and while it may not be politicall correct in all of its
language by current expectations in the US, it is a damn good place to start.

>>>2) Require the ELECTION, rather than appointment, of ALL financial,
>>>economic, and banking officials.

We see the virtues of elected vs appointed played out every day.  If we can
learn to cooperate then we can learn to operate through something closer to
consensus (sp?) than we do now. I'm afraid it's going to require a certain
amount of evolution.

Looking at the current status of earth/resources and "the human condition" I
wouldn't be suprised if it happened in a bit of a hurry.  A sort of crossing
a quantuum boundary effect of moving from one paradigm to another (sea level
change) precipitated by technology, need, necessity, and options.  At this
point the only people who seem to be able to cooperate effectively are those
who have money at risk as a factor in common.


Why not look at planet earth as a sort of giant "co-op corporation" and
every "resident" as a "shareholder".  Everyone is born with one share that
you don't loose until you die."  You could organize and cooperate as you
like where you could best develop your own interest, but earth's capital
exist for all of us (and not just humans).  It's not proven to be so simple,
I've been asking these questions pretty much full time now for about the
last 5 years, and I'm not believing that I've made much progress.

>>>4) A fourth supplementary provision would be a 4-DAY (32-HOUR) WORK-WEEK.

I don't care whether you work 100 hours a week or not at all.  Work as much
or as little as you like, but if you want potatoes you might oght to pick up
the hoe.  

In the current state of affairs, considering competition from countries
where labor has no history and is not effectively organized, and competition
for markets is increasly global, it seems rathar doubtful that -considering
US pay scales and expectations- any organization will exist for very long
(in the USA) if workers expect to maintain current income levels (or higher)
and work fewer hours also.  

>Author: Robert Mcelwain
>Date: 1998/11/10
>Forums: talk.politics.theory
>                           DEMOCRACY For ECONOMICS
>     Much has been said and written about the virtues of
>democracy.  The United States CLAIMS to have it, and has been
>SELF-RIGHTEOUSLY trying to IMPOSE it on other countries such
>as Haiti, Cuba, Panama, Nicaragua, even Kuwait and Iraq.
>Other western countries also CLAIM to be democratic, and
>democratic reforms have been sweeping the communist world.
>     But a TRUE democracy can NOT exist, in the United States
>nor anywhere else, unless and until the PRINCIPLES of demo-
>cracy are FULLY applied TO ECONOMICS, where they COUNT the

It's true, BUT...if my local grocery store, or even the local food co-op
worked as well as our local government, I would starve to death.

>      Economic democracy for the United States has three main
>requirements, which should also be established in ALL other
>    First, ALL corporation$ must be REPLACED with COOPERA-
>TIVES.  Simply change the federal and state corporation laws,
>so there is one vote per share HOLDER, rather than per share
>of stock.  REPLACE the bank$ and $aving$ and loan a$$ocia-
>tion$ with CREDIT UNIONS in the same way, so there is one
>vote per depositor and shareholder.
>     Second, require the ELECTION, rather than appointment,
>of ALL financial, economic, and banking officials.  For
>example, the person occupying the position now held by Alan
>Greenspan should be periodically and directly ELECTED on a
>national level.  There could even be added a 4TH BRANCH of
>government, for "Banking and Finance".
>     Third, establish a GUARANTEED MONTHLY INCOME, just
>enough for basic food, clothing, and shelter costs, given to
>each and EVERY person REGARDLESS of his or her wealth, wages,
>salary, or other earnings.  CREATE the money for this OUT OF
>"THIN AIR" by simply having computers OFFICIALLY print out
>and mail monthly allowance checks.  IF THERE'S A WILL,

The problem of "money out of thin air" is already bad enough.  My goal is to
work for sustainable solutions that make life better for more people rather
than fewer. I believe life could be better, I also fear it could be worse.

>     A fourth supplementary provision would be a 4-DAY (32-
>HOUR) WORK-WEEK.  This would distribute the available useful
>work more evenly, fairly, and DEMOCRATICALLY among everyone
>who wants it, and give most employees an extra day each week
>for themselves and their families.  SIMPLY CHANGE THE FEDERAL
>AND STATE OVERTIME LAWS, FROM 40 TO 32.  Reduce this by one
>hour every year down to a 14-hour work week, as automation
>expands, and inefficient, worthless, or harmful jobs, such as
>in cigarette factories, and the military, are phased out and
>     Such applications of DEMOCRACY to economics would
>eliminate or greatly reduce many of the problems now plaguing
>the People of the world--starvation, malnutrition, homeless-
>ness, poverty, poverty-induced crime, unemployment, the need
>for the legalized- EXTORTION and ARMED ROBBERY of alimony and
>"child support", even taxation, etc., ETC..
>     The present banking $y$tem in the United States ALREADY
>has a complex, perhaps misleading way, of creating money out
>of "thin air", involving the "Open Market Committee" of the
>PRIVATELY-OWNED "Federal" Reserve System, discounting proce-
>dures, loan procedures, interest rates, etc..
>     The problem with it is that the few powerful banker$
>DICTATE which people or enterprises receive this new money,
>and what it may be used for, and then demand that it all be
>paid back to them, PLUS interest, AS IF THIS NEW MONEY
>BELONGED TO THE BANKER$ ALONE!  And the paper "currency" that
>we now use is NOT even real currency, because it is not
>redeemable in gold or silver on demand.
>     In other words, money is something which the banker$
>And the government is GUILTY of COMPLICITY in this ORGANI$ED
>CRIME.  They CREATE money basically by LOANING IT OUT!
>     And "capitalism" is NOT free enterprise.  It is
>CORPORATE SOCIALISM, which is the opposite side of the SAME
>coin as STATE socialism which we call "communism".  They are
>two different kinds of SLAVERY, and two different kinds of
>     Consider the ABSURDITY of such a money system,
>especially in a country that is SUPPOSED TO BE "free and
>      Consider also the ABSURDITY of forcing People to compete
>against each other for a chance to "EARN" the things they
>need and should receive regardless.  Look what happens to the
>LOSERS of such competition and their families!  Even the
>"winners" are SLAVES, when they have to settle for work they
>don't really want, and are forced to submit to the WHIMS of
>their bo$$e$.  They are also SLAVES to the extent that they
>are UNDERPAID for their work.
>     Newly created money should be PERMANENTLY and DEMOCRA-
>TICALLY distributed to ALL of the People, who are much better
>qualified than the banker$ to spend it properly.
>     It is high time to stop being HYPOCRITES about freedom
>and democracy, and start fully applying these two principles
>TO ECONOMICS where they COUNT the most.
>Robert E. McElwaine
>P.S.1: "Legal" or not, EXTORTION and ARMED ROBBERY, committed
>against Individual People or Families, are CRIMINAL
>OFFENSES, REGARDLESS of who does them or why.
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