Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Economic democracy

Christian Arnsperger's 6/2/11 blog post at Eco-Transitions is titled " deepening economic democracy and encouraging new forms of entrepreneurship." He places his orientation in a zone between the Institutionalists, the Social Greens and the bioenviornmentalists. He is like the first in that he favors institutional reform but such reform much encompass more than merely "making markets work more efficiently." Like the greens he sees social and environmental factors inextricably linked and must be addressed in the current, inequitable economic system. He agrees with bioenvironmentalists that we need to curtail growth, reduce consumption and re-localize economies, but he disagrees that strict deglobalization is the solution. Therefore he prefers to be selective in relocalization and what he considers reasonable reduction in growth while still allowing for international trade and capital flow.

As he's mentioned in previous posts (addressed on my blog) economic democracy is a key factor in the transition to new forms of social polity. Such alternatives to the current liberal market system are "not capitalist in nature." Such forms do not rely on the typical capitalist incentives, meaning the carrot of monetary remuneration, which generally does not provide motivation for broader social and environmental concerns. The threat of losing one's money via job loss is the main stick to keep laborers focused on the bottom line only. Economic democracy is a key to expanding concern to such more encompassing, multiple "bottom-lines" held in delicate eco-social balance.

He uses cooperatives as one example of economic democracy. Here a voice is given to each stakeholder in a business, distinct from the usual hierarchical and aristocratic business model. Of course this has been the ideal in a democratic politics but as yet not made its way on a broad scale into business. Unfortunately coops have remained on the fringe and not had a significant impact on the dominating economic meme. Alternatives like coops still continue to thrive in a competitive marketplace but their influence is isolated into pockets of limited communities that need a more coherent program to unite with solidarity to effect more sway on the overall economic frame.

There is more to discuss about this post but I've run out of time this morning, having to now go to my job and answer to my capitalist task-masters, where the operating mantra in characteristic style is: "This is a business, not a democracy."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.