OZ ALTERNATIVESEconomic and political concepts for the New Millennium
Some practical and conceptual tools towards changing economics
Some concepts for thinking, out of the present rut.
At present our Growth economies operate like cancers - feeding on and wasting the natural body they inhabit, and with the single goal of growing to destruction.
The first aim of human economics is to improve quality of life, far above the aim of amassing money..
$OAP A measure for incomes to make you think. It is expressed in terms of the Old Age Pension. So all reports of rises in the salaries of judges and parliamentarians express them in terms of numbers of OAPs, to bring home what all those $000,000s really mean. "The directors awarded themselves a rise of 10 $OAP." "The Junior Minister was given a rise of 10 $OAP." "The cost of renovations to the Parliament Building is equivalent to the total $OAP payouts for the next ten years."
Benevolence Tax (and see other Taxation Alternatives) A wealth tax in which the payer can stipulate the benevolent use that can be made of it, from a published list of organizations and purposes which would like to receive Benevolences (new meaning for an old word! - we may update Indulgences next. Another idea.) The sum is extracted from the rich taxpayer by the Taxation Office which forwards it to the organization, to prevent any funny business. The payoff for the Benevolent Taxpayer is honor and glory. (Detailed account available.)
Censorship This concept includes what is not allowed to be said or read, or is crowded out by other stuff. Censorship is not just about what may get cut out after it is said or printed, or not publishing nasty things. Flowers can be smothered when weeds prevail. Sauce is good, but solid food is necessary to go with it.
Circumspeak Fairly obvious
Common Wealth The Common Wealth is in the quality of life of all its people and its 'bank of resources' maintained for the future. This has a real meaning to be kept alive.
Critical Mess - a concept like Critical Mass is analogous to the physics concept of 'Critical Mass'. There comes a point when there is a quantitative mess that there is a qualitative change to catastrophe. Chaos can then be caused by a butterfly - or a small bug with two digits. When a system becomes too sophisticated and too complex, one small defect may cause the whole to crash. This can happen with too much dependence upon globalisation, or electronic technology or . . .We must retain Fail-safes.
Another example is in social balance. A society can tolerate a considerable amount of criminal and destructive behaviour in it. However, if average behaviour and attitudes become even more dishonest or callous, the whole social system slips a notch, and the worse extreme becomes more numerous and more antisocial. The 'normal curve' changes its position. On the other hand, if average behaviour changes towards the positive direction, then the 'virtuous' extreme becomes stronger. If average behaviour slips too many notches, there is a qualitative as well as quantitative change in the social structure. It moves into 'Critical Mess', and disintegrates. This has happened in other societies and still can happen.
Declaration of rights of posterity See ISI Journal.17.1 , 43 17/41
Economic Theory for the 21st century Both Capitalist and Marxist theory have assumed that only Capital and Labor are factors in production, because they have assumed that Natural Resources were infinite. Now that natural resources are proving finite, they must be factored into the costs of production as Future Cost (qv). The basic purpose of economic activity is not profits and the marketplace, but to supply the real the needs of people.
Employment. Jobs that are needed If all the jobs that need to be done were being done, there need be no unemployment. The problem is, how to pay for them to be done now, when their greatest benefit is for the total society and for the future, not private or immediate profit. The criterion for job creation is that the jobs need to be done - not whether they make a profit for employers. See detailed article.
Tuesday Work for the dole . The dole is taken to represent pay for one day's work, which can be almost anything that is useful. This cannot threaten wages for full-time workers. On one day a week, nobody is to be idle. Nobody is bludging because they are earning the dole, and continuing work experience. There is a great deal of useful employment that could operate on this principle without taking away any full-time workers jobs.
Energy. Human Energy is a distinguishing characteristic of the healthy person. 'Man is naturally energetic.' Although this may be diverted into aggressive behavior, energy is equally capable of being expressed in creative and constructive behavior.
Environmental Arithmetic . Imagine this, when you multiply what you do by the millions of other people who are also doing it.
Euphemise This is the fallacious practice of replacing one word with another as the old word becomes derogatory - as if that changes the derogatory attitude behind it. For example, the succession of words coined to describe immigrants to Australia, from refugee, reffo, Bloody Balt, wog, New Australian, migrants, etc. Or the stages whereby 'idiot' became 'mental defective' became 'mentally retarded' became 'handicapped' became 'learning disabled', thus creating the need for another word to distinguish them from another euphemisation as 'school failures' became 'backward learners' became 'learning disabled' . . became?
Fail-safes Encouragement of innovation is accompanied by failsafes if they do not work. For example, if 'level playing field' global trade proves a global trap, how can Australia survive? If unstoppable foreign debt comes to control by overseas creditors, how can Australia survive. If 'growth' has to stop some time, as resources run short, how can the economy and Australians survive? If climate change is severe, how can Australia survive?
Freedom to Work Day (See 'Tuesday work for the dole. Everyone works on Tuesdays, not just the unemployed.)
Future Cost to be factored in with Capital and Labor as a major component of product cost. Both Capitalist and Marxist theories have assumed infinite resources, so that only Capital and Labor produced surplus value. Future Cost is what the future must pay for what we spend today. A sum to be taken into account in all our planning and costing of life-styles, capital outlays etc. "The Future Cost of an 8-cylinder car is one third more than a 4-cylinder." See detail.
Growth What is it? When and how does quantitative stop, without resulting in cancers or decay? We must look ahead to how and when it must stop, and change to 'qualitative growth', that prevents stagnation. Production has traditionally been a process of Natural resources Æ Product Æ Waste, and has been more adaptable for large-scale products than supply of services. Now this consumption goal is being challenged
Hippocratic Oath for Scientists, Businessmen and Politicians.
Human Rationalism rather than Economic Rationalism
Imagination The ability to consider what may be possible, in real life, as well as in fantasy. This definition should be taken to heart in education, which is especially likely to think that while imagination is to be encouraged, this only means making up stories, or thinking up what is impossible. Imagination is the faculty by which we are enabled to have visions which can change our world. When schools think it can be applied only to impossible whimsies and fantasies, it is similar to restricting our gambling instinct to playing with money - instead of taking risks to improve our own lives and help society.
Immature Category for entertainment and activities that are socially or psychosexually immature in their violence, sexuality, irresponsibility or intoxication. 'Immature Adults' find entertainment in coarse language, violence sexual voyeurism and watching suffering.See Adult and Immature Adult. Mature Adult is the category for entertainment that stimulates thinking and gives pleasure by a vision of the good in any of its many forms.
Independence of nations Political independence means nothing if a region has no control over its economic management. Nation States began with the function of reducing the lawlessness and rapacity of robber barons; today the barons are international, and nation states now have a function to protect people from their lawlessness and greed. Use of property, conditions of employment, local sustenance and prevention of poverty can all be taken out of local control by cross-national organisations oriented only to profit. Banana monarchies and colonial republics are not the goal.
Index of Gross Unnecessary Suffering and Index of Qualityh of Life to be published for each country along with GDP and GNP as measures of a country's wealth. There are quite a few of these indexes available now.
Gross Unnecessary Suffering (GUS) is one measure of the true wealth and prosperity of a country, that should be included with other measures such as GNP. "GNP of this developing nation doubled last year but QOL (Quality of life) is worse for a third of the population, and GUS has not improved at all." Detail is available of such indexes.
Index of Real Domestic Product (RDP) omits from its calculation all the financial transactions involved in antisocial and destructive activities that should be prevented - e.g. traffic accidents, expensive law-suits, antisocial advertising, demolition of perfectly habitable buildings, that may be included in a mere GDP or GNP.
Intelligence The ability to work out what to do in a situation, including in intelligence tests. This is a positive problem-solving concept, and while it covers all the abilities tested in IQ tests, makes it clear that using your brain is not limited to academia.
Locust Class The class of people who want to get all the resources of the earth used up now, and who characterise any opposition to this as coming from the chattering classes. It could also be called the Grasshopper Class if it were not that most of our social classes seem to be wasting today what they will need tomorrow - when the foreign debt is called in.
Malnocence is the antonym to the concept of innocence, which is taken to mean not knowing evil. Malnocence is to know only the bad, ignorant of the good in the world. "In arguing about television and the liberty of adults to watch or do anything they want, the malnocence of today's children must be recognised."
Marketplace. The fallacy of the marketplace as the ideal regulator of supply and demand today is that demand is wealth-driven. Most needs of the world call out for jobs that need to be done and products supplied, but the crucial question is how to pay for them.
Midas Syndrome . So named from the King who was delighted with the gift of turning everything into gold - and discovered that life is more important than base metal. People suffer from the Midas syndrome when they think, for example, that a Moody's rating or material wealth is more important than fresh air, pure water, nourishing food, happy relationships, a beautiful environment, and satisfying work and play.
Money that circulates Money was invented to be a means of exchange of goods and services. Today it siphons off into sinks overseas and to the 'already haves' so that it no longer circulates thru the whole community, round and round. Circulating Money is needed.
Ozroypublic Solution to the Australian constitutional question. A republic with a TV royalty to satisfy our need for an embodied head without the problems and expenses of a US style President.
Personal Sabbath . Today a very high proportion of the people cannot join the day of rest/worship/recreation enjoined by their religion/health ideals/ common-sense, whatever day that may be. Everyone should be entitled to take one day a week, or accumulations of it, as their Personal Sabbath, and to align it with their family's days off.
Politically Correct Language Solution: Bring in new vocabulary. Some suggestions are available for new vocabulary for gender-neutral nouns and pronouns, for example, to avoid the present murdering of English style. It is also possible to retain 'Man' as a generic word with Man. = human being Generic noun. "Mankind need never be described as Personkind." "She was a fireman and helped to man the pumps." A generic term for the human species, so we can speak of 'the destiny of Man', 'mankind' 'firemen' 'manholes', 'man the pumps', and retain a poetry, literature and philosophy that loses scansion, height and depth in person-translation.. All we need is a new word for the male of the species, derivative from the word 'man' as the word 'woman' already is. 'Nonsexist language' at present arouses anti-feminist hostility because people are forced to use horrible circumlocutions and clumsy person-words. Our so-called Living Language has not yet got round to inventing the new words necessary.
Psychological Poverty is a poverty of mind that is unable to think beyond oneself and beyond the minute, and unable to enjoy the good and positive things of the world, to withstand frustrations, to solve problems, to think independently and to nurture others. Restrictions and biases in psychological beliefs, attitudes and personality prevent people making the most of their assets and turning their handicaps into assets. The rich in money can be psychologically poor, and financial poverty does not necessarily mean psychological poverty - but the two tend to reinforce each other.
Public Enterprise as well as Private Enterprise. That is, structures within profit-making public-owned organisations that give the advantages of private enterprise, except that the profits go to revenue, not to private shareholders.
Quality of Life
(QOL) is measure of a country's real prosperity, to help make people
think more critically about GNP as being the only or a sufficient
measure of a nation's wealth. Indexes can calculate these
Regional Currency circulates only within a country or region, unlinkable with the national currency that is used for banking, finance and international trade. Regional currency can only keep circulating to pay for goods and services - it can be banked only for security. It cannot drain out of the region or country or be trapped in the sink of millionaires' profits or even interest-bearing private saving. That means that there need be no paradox of need combined with unemployment. Jobs that are needed can be paid for, because the wages will be returning into circulation to pay for local goods and services, and the income from these that is received in regional currency will be then passed on again, round and round.
Resources Costs of the major world industries can be made public - war, arms, drugs.
Riches. The job of big business must be legally changed to include social responsibilities, to improve the whole commonwealth, with shareholders the second priority. e.g. Plotting takeovers gives something for power-hungry executives to do, and to spend surplus profits on, and reduces their competition, but other healthy companies need protection from them. This is particularly important when takeovers from overseas destroy the local competition in this way.
Self-terminating Shares and Loans terminate when the dividends and interest paid add up to x times what was originally paid for them, regardless of prices in transactions since ( x = what would be fair, allowing for rewards for taking risks in investment - or not risked, in the case of government bonds.). The greatest problem with public and private debt is that until the capital can be paid off, the borrower continues to pay interest. It is said that heirs are still receiving interest from loans made to finance the Battle of Waterloo. The share-owner who has contributed his capital is paid his dividend as long as production continues to be profitable, although the laborer is paid his wage for his share in contribution to production - and that is that. This is inequitable.
The consequences of such a scheme would be far-ranging - and have a strange and possibly beneficial effect on the workings of the Stock Exchange.
SkillOlympics Olympics in which contestants are experts in useful skills such as carpentry, knitting, washing up, checkouts, mending, digging, practical problem-solving, renovating bicycles, shearing, caring for toddlers, etc. etc. Television can be superb in showing the details of their expertise as they compete before a world audience.
Slothaholic . A Workaholic is someone who works compulsively without enjoying it, contrasting someone who works hard because they enjoy it. A Slothaholic is someone who is depressedly lazy and can't enjoy doing anything, even being lazy.
Social Arithmetic Assessing generalisations about society made by estimating the number of people involved. It should be applied to all generalisations about nations, genders, social classes, race and other group. Social-Arithmetic cuts the generalisation that 'War is inevitable because humans are innately violent' first in half by excluding women, and then smaller still by considering how many men in a sample of 100 could be said to be warlike, and how this proportion is affected by different cultures and at different periods of history". Even in Serbia today, the figure may be only 10 in a 100. 'All men are rapists.' How many? When are they? Using social arithmetic, it may be found that 5% of an army commit 90% of the atrocities; that 30% of women are as strong as 70% of men; that 'everybody does it' applies to no form of social behavior - and so on. See details.
Social Invention. An idea or project that improves the quality of life or helps to solve a social problem. We have gone a long way in scientific and technological invention. Now we need to devote as much intelligence to the way we live as we have given to electronics and space exploration.
Socio-diversity in society is as important for human survival as biodiversity is for the planet. As different crises and challenges appear, some people must be around who have the traits and abilities to meet them. To try to get everyone a bland 'normal' is dangerous and monocultural.
Sustainable Household . The sustainable Household is as important as the Marketplace in thinking about Economics. Snooks and others have written on this. It will be even more important in the future, as waste becomes recognised as a major problem leading to shortages of resources.
Sustainability Quotients See Institute for Social Inventions Journals - 18/14,17/7-8
Useful Taxes e.g Green taxes, Carbon Tax, Unitax, and other styles of taxation you have not even thought about, to replace the irksome and unprofitable taxes that can strangle enterprise and thrift.
Urkclass A social concept. Members of the Urkclass have a socially and personally destructive life-style, whether they are rich or poor. They live only in the present, ignorant of the past, careless of the future; prefer waste to personal effort; and believe in impulsivity and that any inhibition on their part will be psychologically harmful to them. Their own pejorative vocabulary includes Puritan work ethic, do-gooding, too good to be true, harsh reality, horrible truth, sickmakingly nice, and they tend to write and think in oxymorons like that.
Waste-Prevention today is as important as Product Production for a country's continued prosperity and positive trade balance, and hence an important source of employment. At present 50% of production is either wasted or barely utilised.
Wealth True Wealth is not derived from non-productive sources e.g. much of the international financial dealings, land speculation, futures, and stock-exchange speculation which are major sources of national financial problems and disastrous economic cycles.
Work - redefinitions for Work, Drudgery, Earning and Being Paid which include an invidious category of 'unproductive employment' in which people get paid for useless or antisocial activities.
Pay distinguished from earnings - between what people are paid and what they actually earn. "The lawyer was paid $2000 per hour - more than he earned. The cleaners were paid $10 hour - less than they earned. The inventor earned $10,000 for his edible packaging - less than his deserved earning.'
The Great Problem How to get better ideas implemented, or even tested, when vested interests that profit from the present situation are so strong.
Superstition is not restricted to the dogmas of ecclesiastical organisations. Churches mix faith with reason in their ideas about how the natural world operates, and recognise openly that they do this. Stranger is the fact that the secular world has assumptions about how the economic world operates. Economists investigate the workings of economies in the same way that scientist investigate the workings of nature and theologians investigate church dogmas - as if they were givens. But economies, like dogmas can be investigated as man-made constructions. And what men make, they can try to improve. Humanists believe that reason can be used to seek solutions to our problems. Economies today require investigation by reason and by imagination, to consider what else might be possible, to improve on what we have.
Further detail is available on all of these. There is some repetition, so that points can be used as single units.