Economics WG Friday 23rd May 2013
Occupy London Economics Working Group
Preliminary Extension of Aims and Objectives
Draft 1.(1 ref.) John Courtneidge January to May 2014
Who we are:
We are a diverse group of people who are not happy with the present economic system and ant to see it evolve into something better.
Purposes, Aims and objectives:
EWG Aims The first sentence below was the Aims as filed in the Info Tent early November 2011. In December we agreed broadly to have a section about implementation but when the revised wording was presented in February a less ambitious word was chosen. (I think promote – search the minutes.)
encourage + promote this at OLSX & beyond;
formulate general economic principles (to agree and develop at GA) on which our movement for the 99% can proceed*;
promote economic changes in line with these principles.
*Steve B to add foot note
On 16th May 2014 we essentially agreed two things:
a) That our ultimate Aim is far greater economic/income equality than at present exists (ie we’ve seen and read in varying degrees the key book, ‘The Spirit Level’);
b) We recognised that our ultimate aim is a sustainable, far more equal share in the prosperity is possible—for everyone, everywhere
—through a new, progressive and responsible economics;
c) That we would try to agree more.
Nonviolent, Co-operative, Radical, Horizontalist
Five Fundamental Economic Principles
1. Land (in the inclusive sense: i.e. including air, water, electromagnetic spectrum, space, etc.,)
Land, and human engagement with it, should be for the benefit of all—the benefit of the land included
The Money/Banking/Finance system should be an effective facilitator of wealth-creation for collective benefit
EconWG- Fri23May2014- Aims and Objectives collective Draft 1.1
John C January to May 2014-1.odt Page 1 of 5 5-Jun-14
Work should be neither coerced, nor coercive: carried out for the benefit of all, and exploited or appropriated by none.
We see a far greater level of income equality—ideally with a safe level of a “Living Income For Everyone” as a guaranteed, unconditional Citizen’s Dividend—and likely some sort of socially-determined limits on income multipliers.
5. An economy for the benefit of all.
We seek maximization of well-ness and minimization of harm [through] co-operative care [association?]—rather than exploitation; the essential objective [being a
future-oriented world served by a sustainable socioeconomic production system].
[Note: This item should be the first, as a statement of overall objective]
—End of revision—
Principles of organizing the economic process
Because some of us wish to see a reform of the present economic system, while others wish to see a replacement of the present economic system (‘capitalism = neoliberalism = the Free Market Economy’ as an interim naming for ‘what presently is’), the policies proposed fall into two sets:
Reformist and Transformist
(we don’t all much like these words, but they serve for now.)
Recall the principle: That ‘Land, and human engagement with it, should be for the benefit of all— the benefit of the land included.’
So, from the reformist group, a full Land Registry and Land-value taxation will bring revenue from both the physical aspect of land, other associated
‘commons’ (such as the electromagnetic spectrum, air space, water, etc) and ‘frozen land’ (such as buildings, roads, ports, etc). One group see this as allowing the continued private ownership of such resources, with the derived income going to the common treasury, whie another group wish al land to be nationally- owned and, then, with the same redirection of rent, use-fees etc going to the common treasury.
The transformist group, however, see ‘ownership’ as something that should be abolished and that wealth-creating activities (as appropriate co- operatives: see below) should sign time-limited nontransferable contracts/community agreements for ‘Co-operative Care-ship’ of those resources (much as ‘full repairing leases’ currently operate).
Recall the principle: That the Money/Banking/Finance system should be a not-for-profit, interestfree collective benefit.
We note that both the reformist and the transformist group agree that the banning of interest charging and receiving (ie financial usury) should be banned outright.
So, from the reformist group, an extensive list of reforms to the Money/Banking/Finance system have already been submitted to the full Occupy LSX General Assembly and most/many/all are in the previously- published ‘Little Book of Ideas’ from the Occupy LSX EWG.
That extensive list GA-agreed reforms is attached as an Appendix (to allow this list of policies to fit on a page or so).
The transformist group, however, see the need to transform the Money/Banking/Finance system from one that is, at present, in the For-profit part of the economy into one that is in the Not-forprofit part of the economy. Two possibilities present themselves. In the first, we see the Public Lending-Library system as one model: where the community at large pays the costs of running the Money/Banking/Finance system, which would not be debt-free but which would be interest-free:
the debts mostly being for interest-free working capital/credit for the wealth-creating co-ops (as below under ‘Work’.
Alternatively, the Money/Banking/Finance system could be run using the Credit Union approach, but one that is a cost to both the savers and to the borrowers ) noting again that most lending will be for wealth- creation not consumption: since everyone will be receiving an adequate income (see below under
Recall the principle: Work should be a non-coercive beneficial activity—for the benefit of all and
for appropriation by none.
The reformist group consider that . . .
The transformist group, however, see the co- operative corporate form (as long as it is in conformity with the Co-operative values and Principles of The International Co-operative Alliance – and that each co- op carry out and publicise ‘Annual Co-operative Audits’ to demostrate its fidelity to those collectively-agreed Co-operative values and Principles) as one that should replace all workplace structures (even one-person workplaces).
Such workplaces fall into two categories: those that create a surplus of income and those that need financial subsidy for their operation.
The former might be a mix of worker co-operatives and community/consumer co-operatives. The financial surpluses from these would then fund the other sorts of ‘social co-operatives’: this circulation would replace the present tax system in that the financial surpluses, at present, are distributed as rent, interest and profits to the owners/thieves (by appropriation and/or conquest or purchase) of economic resources, along
with the excessive pay-for-work that a small number of employees presently receive/take/steal.
The transformist group, notes that in a rent-free, interest-free economy the pressure to generate short- term returns (to pay the rent/interest and profits – that usury demands) reduce both the financial cost of production and the environmental costs associated with short-term a-economic activities such as we now see.
d) Incomes – both pre – and post-taxation Recall the principle: We see a far greater level of income equality—with a sustainable level of a ‘Living Income For Everyone’ (a ‘LIFE’) as a guaranteed Citizen’s Income/Basis Income/Citizen’s Dividend.
As the counter-part of this, we all (Reformists and Transformists alike) see that a sociallydetermined upper income level is necessary.
The reformist group consider that this income- equalising can be done using a fair taxation system.
The transformist group, however, notes that through the use of randomly-appointed Citizen Fairness Commissions, in conjunction with the guaranteed LIFE income, personal taxation (through direct income tax and indirect taxation such as user fees, VAT, etc are an unnecessary activity.
Further, that since the resultant income ratio will be socially-determined, any policy proposals that the community as a whole or in part (as the co-operatives referred to above in the transformist view or in the reformed, existing employer/employee/boss-and- worker corporates) will need to carry out, both, Environmental Impact Assessments and Inequality Impact Assessments to ensure that the socially- determined income ratio is not breached.
e) An economy for the benefit of all.
Recall the principle: That we seek maximization of well-ness and minimization of harm; cooperative care
—rather than exploitation—as the the essential objective for a sustainable economic/social/future- oriented world.
Accordingly inter-national economic relations will not involve interest-bearing debt, nor will exploitation of inter-national trading (Tariffs, Tobin Taxes, etc) be necessary. It may be that John Maynard Keynes’ concept of an global interest-free currency could help reduce the costs of international economic activity: none of which, of course would be for exploitation in the form of rent, interest, profit or other work-effort thefts.
The following aspects are probably not ours to carry out or explain in detail (for now at least).