A quick glance at the Guardian website yesterday shows that the Occupy protesters at St Pauls are calling out for suggestions. I haven’t had a chance to look at anything being suggested yet, but am really pleased to see the debate getting underway. I will be having a read through shortly. Here are some things I would like to throw in:
1. Acknowledgement that it is a global issue and seeks to find solutions that can be applied across national boundaries.
2. An understanding that the economy and the political set up are intertwined and action on governance is crucial to rectifying problems with the economy
3. Inequality both within this country (and others) and between countries must be tackled in achieving a fairer system
4. A new system of governance needs to be devised that will work from the most local level all the way up to world governance. The principle of subsidiarity is a good start.
5. Balance is an important guiding concept. i.e. There is a place for both collaboration and competition. We have both an individualistic and a social side to our characters. Our systems need to take account of both. i.e. we should work both in our own interests and in societies interests – I would suggest on a 50/50 basis. We should be encouraged both to make profit and to give charitably – again a 50/50 basis sounds reasonable. How about a four way grid
Quarter a: Personal/profitable. A quarter of the yield from your work is yours to do with as you will
Quarter b: Social/profitable. A quarter of the yield from you work you invest in for a return
Quarter c Personal/charitable. This quarter again you decide where it goes but it is given away for the greater good
Quarter d. Social/charitable. This quarter you give away and ‘the government’ spend it, including on the bits that people aren’t likely to have covered in c such as looking after criminals or maintaining sewers.
6. Tackle tax havens. I suggest we get together as many ‘reasonable nations’ as we can, set in place some basic standards on things like corporation tax levels that we will not go below and we then refuse to trade with anyone who doesn’t play.
6a. The same trading block can be used to demand standards in relaton to things like minimum wages and health and safety – a far better way of getting competitive with China than trying to get wages down to their level! Look up Simpol for joining up policies across nations.
7. Further develop projects that look at giving ethical ratings to companies. Include within that their tax affairs, sustainable sourcing, how flat their pay structures are, whether they are employee owned and more. Build an app to access the data quickly and easily.
8. Find some small banks that it would be feasible for crowds to buy shares in. Take them over and make them social enterprises. Encourage others to transfer their accounts to them.
8b. Break up large banks
8c. Separate the investment banks from others – not just within the same bank – separate banks.
9. Think about what should be achieved on income equality. How much space should there be between top and bottom. I’m minded towards nobody earning more than double or less than half the average (median). That way competition is limited to 3 x as much from bottom to top. I realise this may seem a bit much for people to swallow straight off and it may be appropriate to have a somewhat wider spread, but I wouldn’t want to see the aspiration be for anything wider than ten. I would advocate moving towards a more equitable income spread over a number of years so that the jolt for individuals is lessened.
The methods for achieving this can be worked out as we go along and needn’t be set in stone. If they have perverse consequences, change them. It’s the general intent and direction of travel and understanding of what you are trying to achieve that is important. Ignore the prats who want to do detail first.
10. A new economic system must not rely on perpertual growth as the system does currently. It may be possible to create considerably more growth in industries that do not rely on consumption i.e. personal services such as health and care, but we should not have to need growth. Steady state should be OK in a sensible system. At the moment the need for growth distorts horribly. What sort of daft system requires consumers to consume more and more and spend more and more when they are already drowning in debt and the world is running out of resources. We have to get a grip.
11. Don’t forget to link up to other issues. In particular the resource thing including oil. Climate change – a plan that doesn’t involve human extinction would be good. Peace would also be nice.
12. Use the IT to spread ideas around the world. Promote direct democracy, greater equality and removal of powerful elites.
13. Full employment shouldn’t mean working all the time. I see no reason why everyone shouldn’t work part time and then spend lots of time, studying for free, raising families being neighbourly, engaging in cultural actvities, working on their own homes and gardens etc.
14. Recognise unpaid work properly
15. Get rid of the ludicrous idea of people work into their 70s (by compulsion, fine if they want to) while we have a million tweny somethings withou work. This is bonkers.
OK there’s my dreams for today. Sorry no particular order. Let’s see what others are thinking.