Re: Demcracy For Economics: a worthy proposal? FWD

Flower Child & Zephyr (nternet@c2i2.com)
Sat, 21 Nov 1998 17:43:17 -0700


Charles Wilson (Flower Child) here.  My responses are
interspersed below:

-----Original Message-----
From: Homeless Action Coalition <hac@efn.org>
To: Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net>
Cc: HPN@aspin.asu.edu <HPN@aspin.asu.edu>
Date: Saturday, November 21, 1998 1:30 PM
Subject: Re: Demcracy For Economics: a worthy proposal? FWD


|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.


Charles Wilson:  Yes, the UN Declaration could be a great
unifying touchstone to our efforts.  And yes, more cooperatives
would be great.  Is education a key to get people to demand
cooperatives; they're so much in their interest?  (I'm using
"their" and "them" knowing I'm in the same "people" group, of
course.)  And so is progressive tax code, and only education may
stop oligarchy front groups from getting passage of a "simple
flat tax" which of course would push a new huge tax burden on
them.  Obviously the educations we've been getting have filled us
with the details of production and promotion at the expense of
quality basic understanding of the real, non-fabricated world.
I'd like to see some philanthropic or other funding for
cooperatives soon, especially in the areas of offering the
options of microhousing, microhouse cohousing neighborhoods and
central facility vehicular villages, so these would be real and
available economic choices for young, ill-housed (too high
porportion of income toward housing), and the unhoused.  I
believe this would begin a very noticeable movement of people
toward solutions which would also be advertising changing times
and would raise a lot of spirits quickly.

|>>>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.


CW:  Of course we need elected over appointed, from high to low,
from federal banking to zoning variance boards.   And there's not
time for evolution, but perhaps there's time enough for
education.

|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.


CW:  Then the education must include showing people their true
common risk factors which compose much of what many newsgroups
and lists are concerned with now.  My hope is that the ideas we
sketch now will be a matrix or even safety net to which people
will be able to jump when the crunches really start coming.

|>>>3) Establish a GUARANTEED MONTHLY INCOME.
|
|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.


CW:  Yes, make it a minimum amount, means tested.  More for
voluntary sterilization.  No one has to accept.  It's in the
government's (a representative government's) interest.  It's a
necessity to control, even reduce, present Earth population
figures.

|>>>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.
<snip>

CW:  A great ballpark figure, the four hour day.  With micro
options available to people, they could pay for their lives with
such reduced hours, and the values of improved health, being with
children growing up, knowing their neighbors, garden cultivation,
time for education, longer tempers, and so on, would be
tremendous.  The old, gross values in housing which takes half a
lifetime to pay for, automobiles worthy of former monarchs run on
petroleum drained from the world under military guard, and the
would-be fairy-tale mall shopping experience images as a way of
life probably mean little to our young when they have to enter
the world upon maturing, even if they were still obtainable
economically or physically from the Earth, which they are not.

CW:  And I'd like to comment on two other things.  The exorbitant
costs of the average living expenses, pushed up by the incentives
which have removed or made difficult to find ordinary, plain and
adequate choices from the marketplace in terms of housing,
medical, and even grocery items and have replaced them with
covenient to obtain higher cost, exclusive and deluxe shelf items
has made stress in many relationships, to the point of
dissolution and cooperating with legalized extortion proponents.
We could reverse this trend with the micro options and a
relaxation on free-enterprise at the household and neighborhood
level, such as still exists in Mexico, for example, where plain
and adequate stores are carried by neighbors out of one side of
their houses (the ubiquitous tiendas), street corner and cart
vending operations (improved community socializing and
communication is a byproduct function), and the ability to have a
shop in some residential settings, perhaps as a first floor of a
residence, and the ability to do business in a minimal way
without the extensive prerequisites in trade, business and
building codes.  These codes have been elaborated and maintained
by the older generations of merchants, trade and business
interests which most often were able to participate in boards,
councils, supervisors and committees, staffs and political
offices and the special interests funneling them money.  We can
make the changes orderly, or when the crunch comes none of these
codes will mean anything when they are massively transgressed by
necessity.

CW:  And with loaning money out as a way of life, or usury,
cooperatives here would make a lot of sense.  The use of capital
to make a livelihood had meaning in the beginning when the family
wisdom in the direction and risk of capital was important and not
in general existence.  Now that most of this has been reduced to
a formula with guaranteed, collateralized returns, turning this
function over to cooperatives with member-agreed upon rates of
return would seem to be justified.  Often the offspring of the
original families have wanted to enjoy the same levels of income
without having developed or increased the depth of expertise,
experience or wisdom their parents had.  A move to
equalitarianism will of course be fought tooth and nail.  And if
anyone who speaks out against consumerism, exploitation, and
unrestrained development is said to be virtually an enemy of the
people in most governmental circles, then that government is not
one allied with the people.  We should try to realign our
government now so we do not lose the many benefits we and past
generations have installed there, often at great cost.

Submitted by Charles Wilson         (Flower Child)

|>________________________
|>FWD
|>Author: Robert Mcelwain
|>Email: UZQS73A@prodigy.com
|>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
|>most.
|
|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
|>countries.
|>
|>    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,
|>THERE'S A WAY.
|>
|
|
|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
|>eliminated.
|>
|>     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$
|>CREATE, OUT OF NOTHING, FOR THEMSELVES, TO ENSLAVE People.
|>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
|>ORGANI$ED CRIME.
|>
|>     Consider the ABSURDITY of such a money system,
|>especially in a country that is SUPPOSED TO BE "free and
|>democratic"!
|>
|>      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.
|>
|>P.S.2: PASS IT ON!
|>
|>END FORWARD
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