Decentralizing the Economy to Achieve Sustainability and Real Democracy

“We believe that we are in the midst of an escalating ecological crisis, and that the crisis is the result of decisions made by a relatively few people who run corporations and government. We believe that sustainability will never be achieved by leaving those decisions in the hands of a few – both because of their belief in limitless economic production and because their decisions are made at a distance from the communities experiencing the impact of those decisions. Therefore, we believe that to attain sustainability, a right to local self-government must be asserted that places decisions affecting communities in the hands of those closest to the impacts. That right to local self-government must enable communities to reject unsustainable economic and environmental policies… and must enable communities to construct legal frameworks for charting a future towards sustainable energy production, sustainable land development, and sustainable water use, among others. In doing so, communities must challenge and overturn legal doctrines that have been concocted to eliminate their right to self-government…”

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Mission Statement

In this Vital Conversation, our objective is to collectively agree upon a rationale, a comprehensive vision and a set of strategies for achieving the decentralization – or relocalization – of social, political and economic power and control.

Here we acknowledge the realistic, honest and ethics-based views affirmed by participants in the 3rd World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation:

“There are no jobs on a dead planet.

“Climate action is non-negotiable… The ITUC supports the moral imperative to both preserve an inhabitable planet and to profit from the jobs that climate action can deliver. We demand a commitment to a ‘just transition’ based on social dialogue from the workplace to the national level, with green skills and social protection guaranteed.

“All jobs must be cleaner if we are to green our economy, and decent work must be at the heart of this transformation… ensuring that we live within planetary boundaries and that the crucial issues of food security, energy security and water are addressed.

“Despite overwhelming evidence that neo-liberal policies are destructive and ineffective, international financial institutions continue to press governments to bow to the power of financial markets, and governments have cowered before them… Finance must be at the service of the economy, to guarantee a future for the next generations… The current model of free trade and investment agreements, inherited from the neoliberal hegemony, reinforces a model of domination captained by transnational companies and financial institutions…. Fair trade, national development, democracy, cooperation and solidarity with respect to labor and human rights must be the basis for a new international trade regulation, replacing multiple bilateral, bi-regional and multilateral agreements.

“Capitalism based on neoliberal ‘Washington Consensus’ policies has made our societies even more vulnerable and unequal. Business as usual is not acceptable.

“We need a new global deal between nations; a new social contract that guarantees full employment and decent work, social protection and sustainability.

“We need to rebuild economies on new economic models that serve people and their communities…

“The ITUC is determined to build the power of workers to shape societies and economies that are socially just.

“We have a vision for a positive future for working people and their families, shaped by a strong global labour movement. This movement can organise and mobilise its vast membership to stand united against the vested interests of unregulated capital and markets.

“To have the means to do so, we must rethink the way the global trade union movement works and ensure greater effectiveness. We must build an inclusive and participatory trade union movement which can find answers to workers’ problems. That also means democratizing and decentralizing the way the international trade union movement works, enabling all the occupational sectors and every level of representation to have their say, so as to respect trade union pluralism.

“The ITUC is proud of our inclusive global movement of working people, and we stand with them and their families as we build the power of workers to strengthen democracy and freedom, demand rights and bargain collectively for a socially just world.”

International Trade Union Confederation, 2014, Strategies for Building Workers’ Power, Congress Statement, 3RD ITUC World Congress (18-23 May 2014, Berlin)

“When power resides with people and communities, life and innovation flourish. When power is centralized in distant government agencies or corporations, the life is sucked out of the community… The mounting human and environmental costs [of] corporate-led economic policies… have awakened millions of people to the reality that the health of a community depends in substantial measure on its ability to set its own economic priorities and control its own economic resources. Strong communities and material sufficiency are the true foundation of economic prosperity and security and an essential source of meaning. Less visible [than street protests or calls for reform], but even more important, is a spreading commitment to rebuild local economies and communities from the bottom up.”

David Korten, 2007, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community

Numerous articles within the Earth Holocracy Proposal are relevant to providing a rationale for economic decentralization:

From Volume One –  The Earth Holocracy Proposal

The Urgency of Effective Work for the Common Good

Effectively Addressing the Issue of Climate Change

The Shift to a Life-Sustaining Civilization

The Time for Real Global Democracy is Now

The People are the Solution

From Volume Five – titled Economic Decentralization

Relocalizing for the Transition to a Sustainable, Ethical and genuinely Democratic Civilization

Production for Human Needs and Sustainable Maximum Utilization

Rational Distribution: Guaranteed Minimum Necessities and Maximum Amenities

Economic Democracy

Economic Decentralization and Socio-Economic Units

Democratization of Education and Learning

From Volume Six – Why Whole System Change is Necessary, Part One – Global Domination by the Neoliberal Hegemony

The Centralization of Global Power and Wealth by the 1%

Global Finance: The GRUNCH of Giants

The Disaster of Neoliberalism

From Volume Six -Why Whole System Change is Necessary,

Part Two – Systemic Global Militarism

Just Seven Percent of Global Military Expenditures

OUR TASK

More than providing a rationale for the necessity of decentralizing the economy so as to ensure sustainability and ‘real democracy’, the objective of this Vital Conversation is for participants to agree upon a viable set of strategies for accomplishing this imperative. The approach advocated by the Earth Holocracy Proposal for the dismantling of the globalized neo-liberal system is to build the new decentralized system from the grassroots: elsewhere we have discussed Local Community Empowerment, Global Solidarity for Local Self Determination, and Egalitarian Organizational Models. Here our objective is to agree upon a viable blueprint – a set of viable design principles and broad strategies – for achieving the decentralization of the economy and the “sustainability transition” of industry.

To further our objective, we draw upon humanity’s prodigious and brilliant working solutions and honest analyses aimed at realizing a sustainable and humanly-rewarding future for all – as presented within the Earth Holocracy Proposal.

As we embark upon our task, let us recall that – in the early 1970s, achieving sustainability was the subject of key international conferences, producing then a comprehensive vision and set of viable strategies. Alas, the world succumbed to the power of the neoliberal hegemony – which, of course, pursues, antithetical policies. Please see the Earth Holocracy Proposal’s celebration of the great sustainability classic by Barbara Ward and Rene Dubois, Only One Earth.

Here we want to agree to popularly-based, humanly-rewarding, environmentally-sustainable policies, as well as viable strategies for furthering our policy decisions. The Earth Holocracy Proposal advocates the economic vision of P.R. Sarkar’s Progressive Utilization Theory – and presents this theories straight-forward, common-sense approach in a series of articles – as follows:

Production for Human Needs and Sustainable Maximum Utilization

Rational Distribution: Guaranteed Minimum Necessities and Maximum Amenities

Economic Democracy

Economic Decentralization and Socio-Economic Units

Five Guiding Principles for Economic Decentralization

Trade in a Decentralized Economic Democracy

Balanced Economy

Three-Tiered Ownership, Planning and Development

Three-Tiered Regional Economy

Cooperatives

Quadri-Dimensional Economics

Agriculture, Industry and Services

Please join this Vital Conversation by leaving a Comment below. Thank you for your valued input.