NENA members tell us what the new economy means to them

Please click here to read our member blogs so far…

Everyone’s invited to send us a 500-700 word blog/informal opinion piece, to share your views about the New Economy.

You’re invited to address the following questions in your written piece:

  • What does the ‘new economy’ mean to you?
  • Why is building a new economy for Australia important to you?
  • What do you think are the top 2 or 3 issues that a ‘new economy’ must address, to be successful in Australia?

NENA members tell us what the new economy means to them

Please click here to read our member blogs so far…

Everyone’s invited to send us a 500-700 word blog/informal opinion piece, to share your views about the New Economy.

You’re invited to address the following questions in your written piece:

  • What does the ‘new economy’ mean to you?
  • Why is building a new economy for Australia important to you?
  • What do you think are the top 2 or 3 issues that a ‘new economy’ must address, to be successful in Australia?

Nicholas McGuigan and Thomas Kern – The Accountability Institute

Nicholas McGuigan, Associate Professor of Accounting and Director of Education at Monash Business School, Co-Instigator of The Accountability Institute, Editor Accounting Education, Associate Editor, Higher Education Research and Development Journal, Associate Editor, Issues in Accounting Education

Melbourne, Australia

Thomas Kern, Ex-Banker, Ex-Academic and Co-Instigator of The Accountability Institute

Melbourne, Australia

 

Changing the Language of Business – From Ac’count’ing to Accountability

“Language allows us to create new thoughts. It changes our behavior and ways of seeing. To transition global and local business towards regeneration and resource preservation we need a new language. A holistic language that accounts for the ecological and sociological as well as the economic. Our greatest challenge therefore is to change the language of business – accounting – from one of ac’count’ing to one of accountability.”

– Thomas Kern and Nick McGuigan (The Accountability Institute).

 

Accounting as a Metaphor and Reality Construction

Accounting’s power lies not in its ability to monitor and mirror reality but rather in its ability to influence and shape everyday reality (Morgan, 1988)

Our economic and financial systems are complex. It is perceived as the accountants’ job to present such “complex multi-dimensional realities” in their records and reports in a ‘true, fair and understandable’ manner. Those reports and analyses are the basis for decision-making, by managers, investors, lenders, consumers and governments, in essence all members of society.

Accountants prepare their reports and analyses through metaphorical constructs – a mostly monetary, numerical view of reality – where numbers are insufficiently representative of a much broader and more diverse business environment. Accountants become part of a “complex web of reality construction”. With their reports they represent versions of reality, be it the economic viability of an organisation, the costs and benefits of a particular investment decision or the operational effectiveness of a production system or public investment. Those numbers decide whether employees are hired or fired, which public services are offered or how wealth is distributed. At the same time, those numbers are used by decision-makers to avoid personal responsibility. They are used (and abused) to justify decisions in favour of particular interest groups. They stand between the decision-makers and the decision-takers.

The accountants’ representations become a part of the fabric through which a situation is “accounted for” (or not accounted for). This becomes cyclic:

In representing reality we as accountants are constructing reality” (Hines, 1988).

 

Economic Monoculture

This powerful and at times overbearing language has resulted in us existing in a world of The Corporation and its monetisation and commodification of all spheres of society. Previously confined to economics and trade, the accountants’ monetary representation of reality is infiltrating the arts, science, nature, medicine and education, where items of value are being reduced to commodities that can be bought or sold.

How we think about our work, our relationships with others and the natural world, our community, our physical and spiritual health, our education and our creativity are all being shaped by economic values and assumptions” (Michaels, 2011).

Our accounting language is permeating all facets of life, reducing our decisions to mere financial consequence.

 

New Frames of Reference

Facing the global, systemic crises of climate change, population growth, mass migration, food insecurity, resource scarcity and social structures no longer fit for purpose, we are convinced that we need a broader language of business, changing from ac’count’ing to accountability. The accounting language requires enrichment through the incorporation of non-financial, non-monetary values, like human, social and environmental factors to re-diversify our culture.

In our search for suitable frames of reference, we discovered the permaculture ethics and design principles and other holistic human systems. For the purpose of developing a holistic accounting language we are currently investigating and creatively playing with Integrated Reporting, Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness and an accounting model based on Steiner’s Threefold Society, to mention just a few.

 

The Role of Education and The Accountability Institute

Current business and accounting education models, exacerbated through the above-mentioned commercialization, perpetuates traditional, mono-cultural accounting and economic models. Performance measurement systems for University academics tend to favour quantitative, capital markets based research required for publication in the dominant US-based journals, further feeding such perpetuation.

We see future-oriented education as the perfect lever for change. We can not only help by developing more responsible future decision-makers through opening up students’ minds to critical and holistic thinking. But we can also inspire and collaborate with our fellow educators to multiply such efforts.

For this purpose, we created The Accountability Institute as a progressive forward thinking educative space for creating new forms of transformative learning. The institute’s vision is to develop a holistic language for reporting and decision-making that extends beyond money. To achieve this we aim to foster collaborations between art, science, technology and economics, bringing these fields into conversation to create a new language – a language of accountability. With this vision in mind we aim to redefine business and accounting education for new generations of responsible decision makers, provide a platform for innovative business and accounting educators, and bring holistic visioning and development to accounting educators, professional bodies and standard setters.

Please join us on our journey. You can like our page and contact us directly info@theaccountabilityinstitute.net.

Sabrina Chakori

Sabrina Chakori

“It’s hard to talk about moving the world forward when so much energy is being expended just trying to keep it from sliding backward.” [1]

I’m 25 years old and I spent the last ten years of my life trying to fight against the environmental degradation. However, just in these last years I realized that we are facing too many interlinked environmental and the social crises. Therefore, instead of adjusting one issue at the time, I understood that I needed to act at the root of all these problems changing our economic system.

Can we find better paths for our pursuit of well-being than the destructive model of growth-driven development? 

Altering the economic governance rules is challenging and it can lead to feel powerless due to the complexity of the current system. For this reason, in my journey I decided to focus on two limited aspects. I spend my energy and time trying to change our consumptions patterns and highlighting the need of new index to measure our economic success.

 

Shifting the consumption culture

Our culture became centered on consumptions of all types and this life-style is affecting our health and well-being. If our brain focuses on what we do not have, then we will be always unhappy. Furthermore, overconsumption impacts negatively our social relationships and the environment.

Through research and community events, I started to face the problem of the (over)consumption of our society because everyone can directly challenge this issue. Acting on consumption means that we need to rethink everyday human behaviour, from what we eat, to what we wear and how we spend our leisure time.

The logic of abundance leads to abuse of resources, polluting energy to produce goods that we do not really need and to exponential increase of waste. It is time to shift the culture of “buy-use-dispose-repeat” toward a less voracious development that lead to well-being and not just to growth as a goal in itself. Breaking this cycle is not always easy, but it is entirely possible. Decreasing our consumption, and the annexed production, is an important step toward sustainability. Reducing our desire of shopping would lead to stops polluting resources to continue powering globalization and it will drive us to fundamental changes where we will need to reuse, repair and share, where collaboration will gain importance over reductive competition and where the system will promote quality over quantity.

To deconstruct the consumption oriented culture another necessary step is to redefine humans in a new economic system and to not play anymore the role of “consumers”. A new term that replace “consumer” could shape a new worldview.

 

Measuring what matters: new index

Starting from the fact that fulfilling lives cannot be achieved through industrial output alone, we need therefore to break the production-consumption cycle that affects the natural and social equilibrium. If on one side, as explained earlier, it is important to act on our daily life style and on a new definition of the role of humans in the next system, on the other side it urges to measure differently our economic success.

Our current hungry development is reinforced by the predominant measurement which is gross domestic product (GPD), that consider just the “priceable” output. The GDP considers only the monetary transaction of the total spending by households, governments and investments across the nation, ignoring all the non-monetized activities. Sending a child to a day-care center rises the GDP, while caring at home by member of family does not; a forest cut down and turned into pulp adds to GDP, but a standing forest does not. In fact, one main problem of basing our economy on an index such as the GDP, is for example that natural wealth has no value unless owned and exploited, by consequence environmental destruction is not deducted from the GDP measurement. Also cancer, crime, car accidents and divorces lead to rising GDP. Hence, if your country is not growing as fast as expected, think about one of these activities, such as divorcing, it can be your good action in order to increase the GDP!

In addition to the above, this index does not count all the full social and ecological costs, and does not integrate information about distribution of good and services. By consequence the GDP results an inadequate index of the societal well-being, but our decision makers still use it as proof of (economic) success.

It urges to reframe the new economic system and to measure our activities with index that go beyond the narrow definition of economic growth. My interests are more and more focused on the need of new performance assessment indicators that promote quality over economic quantity and that are capable of integrating the key dimensions of human and ecological well-being, measuring what “really matters”. Considering the monetary and non-monetary measurements, we could measure our economic success integrating the natural and social capital and being aware of the limits that cannot be exceeded without affecting our prosperity. A well-being economy takes into account the positive and negative externalities and genuine progress indicators are becoming more and more explored. In this directions the United Nations developed the Inclusive Wealth Index, a beyond GDP tools. Index of Social Health, Ecological Footprint, Happy Planet Index, Gross National Happiness are all index that try to integrate the social and ecological health, such as the level of inequality, suicide, species loss and GHG emissions.

In the light of the new parameters substantial research and work should be done to introduce them in the political debate and to implement them.

Rethinking the economic system is challenging because it will trigger profound changes politically and socially. However, pockets of experimentation are mushrooming around the globe.  Actions and events, such as the New Economy Conference (2017) that we are organizing in Brisbane, enact the revolutionary changes necessary to create a sustainable, prosperous and more equitable future.

 

[1] Morgan Clendaniel, https://www.fastcompany.com/3068902/the-world-changing-ideas-of-2017

Sam Kurikawa

“What do you think are the top 2 or 3 issues that a ‘new economy’ must address, to be successful in Australia?”

  1. The future of work – Precarity, Underemployment and Automation
  2. Equitable access and Responsible custodianship of resources
  3. Reframing what we value and Meaningful lives

“The robots are coming.” This is only scary if nothing else changes and we simply replace people with robots and fail to create other means for individuals, families and communities to get access to what they need.  Personally I love the idea of a non-sentient being cleaning public toilets, harvesting in the hot sun, or performing a repetitive task on a factory line.

The problem comes simply when the deal is we exchange hours and skills for money, and using only that finite amount of capital we seek to procure all of the necessities of life and a few of the comforts too.

Being in a position to exchange too few hours or not in possession of the right skills at the right moment can only have one result – we fail to meet our basic needs, or recklessly seek to do so in a dog-eat-dog race to the bottom whereby we willingly plunder our environment and exploit a weaker economy (including its workers) as we manoeuvre our way through life in survival mode.

We’ll do some crazy and morally suspect things when we’re staring at the possibility of losing our access to the things we need or have grown attached to.

I genuinely believe there are abundant resources available in this world, however a model of unrestrained growth – in consumption, in population, in profits, in production, in our list of wants – directly causes short-sighted custodianship of the planet.  The neo-liberal capitalist economy not only benefits from such actions, but in fact is predicated on it.  There must be losers because without them there can be no winners in capitalism.  Sadly losers outnumber winners at a ratio of 99% to the 1%.

What the New Economy represents to me is a fresh, responsible approach to environmental sustainability as well as equitable communities in which each individual has enough of what they need to thrive.  If we all were free to pursue passionate lives doing meaningful work, the desire to own the latest energy-hungry consumable goods, abuse our bodies as an escape from our depressing realities, or ‘get ahead’, signalled by the amount of marble our houses are built with, would all be diminished.  If I were at liberty to find purpose by spending all my time raising children and you could apply yourself to mastering foreign languages, and we could both still have enough to eat, a comfortable place to sleep and access to the goods and services we require to live full and healthy lives, what’s to fight over?

 

I want to see us reward every participant in the new economy for acting in the greater good, but enable freedom of individual choice to assign value to a less narrow range of options.  In doing so we could solve some of the most threatening tensions we face.  When scarcity and a fear of personal lack are removed as the driving force behind how we choose to live our lives, collectively we are able to provide for each stakeholder sustainably into the distant future.  I strive towards a life whereby all of us can find meaning and connection outside the current economic system which necessitates we sell ourselves for money.  I want to see us move beyond a moral code which prescribes that we are worth only what we work to produce and consume.  Only then would we be liberated from soul-destroying jobs and be free to embrace the technological age with its promise of convenience, efficiency and human-centred design.

Anouk Pinchetti

I believe the world is in crisis right now.  We are seeing a climate catastrophe, with record die-offs of bees, our oceans choking in plastic, 5.5 million deaths per year due to air pollution (mostly in countries where the IMF can impose a ban on environmental and labour laws), Africa, India and areas of the Middle East no longer have the rainfall they had just decades ago.  All of these are symptoms of the way our current economic system is designed to extract value from everything in the form of money, and gather it in fewer and fewer places (by allowing only banks to create it for free, and charging everyone else interest on it).

Being forced to grow into new territory, the capitalist economy then imposes itself on foreign economies (either through ‘aid’ in the form of loans or through the barrel of a gun), and domestically into relationships that previously did not involve money, replacing trusting relationships with economic, transactional ones, not only removing our need to rely on our neighbours, but gradually eroding our ability to trust them, as well.  In a world where we find ourselves bombarded by lies, where we cannot trust our politicians, our advertisers or the news, it’s more important than ever to build trust with the people in our communities.

Meanwhile, money is the tail wagging our economic dog, and every other system in society has been set up to serve the interests of money.  When everything is optimized only for the extraction of wealth, you create the crazy contradictions we see in the world today: We’re producing more than enough food to feed the world, yet people are starving.  We have a growing number of homeless people in cities with growing numbers of empty houses people can’t afford to rent. There’s more urgent work to be done than ever to clean up our oceans, the air, replant our forests, and recycle waste, and still we have rising unemployment.

When every system is serving money alone, fundamental change in our economic system will not come from our banks or politicians.  Instead, it is coming from the rest of us, as we empower ourselves and each other to work in new and better ways to support not only each other, but our natural environment as well.

There are thousands upon thousands of people around the world building the pieces of a New Economy already, and millions more who wish there were better systems they could take part in.  From community currencies to urban farms, co-housing, cooperatives and social enterprises of all kinds, people are leading the way to build a secure future together.  In the process of building these new economic systems, they’re forming bonds and relationships that make up a community.

Whether you divest your money from the mining or war industries, join a local community exchange network, buy a solar panel or begin growing some of your own food, there are steps anyone can take in the right direction.  Do your friend a favour or ask someone for help.  Reach out to the people in your neighbourhood and find out what they’re struggling with.  Find out what you think should be done better, and find out who agrees with you.  There are alternatives out there already, and the New Economy Network of Australia and New Systems Hub seek to bring those alternatives together and make them easier to access.

Dr Shann Turnbull

My vision for an ecologically based New Economy

Dr Shann Turnbull, Paddington, Sydney

sturnbull@mba1963.hbs.edu

Principal: International Institute for Self-governance

Founding member of: Sustainable Money Working Group, New Garden Cities Alliance, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors

For society to survive climate change it needs to become governed by the nature of its host bioregions as occurred in pre-modern times. Only in this way can both the environment and society be sustained in perpetuity.

The three most important requirements for establishing a decentralized locally governed ecological society are to:

  1. Adopt ecological property rights to land, buildings, enterprises and money;
  2. Adopt an ecological form of “network governance” as was practiced in pre-modern societies which has been re-developed in stakeholders controlled entities;
  3. Encourage a decline in the plague of people on the planet through education and providing Universal Basic Incomes (UBIs) to remove the need for children to provide care and income for citizens.

These three crucial survival requirements are self-reinforcing. Ecological property rights create a way to provide all citizens a share of income-producing property to fund UBIs. Ecological network governance would insure that income was: (a) appropriately distributed and (b) not captured by the greedy.

Ecological property rights would counter inequality in three ways that economists neglect. These are: (i) overpayment of investors in a way not reported by accountants; (ii) windfall gains in urban land created by public investment and by others; (iii) interest paid on money.

Tax incentives can be used to divert overpayments of investors to stakeholders and others to fund an UBI[1]. Bottom up decision-making with citizen referendums can provide a way to democratize the wealth of cities from self-financing infrastructure investment[2]. It requires all windfall gains to be captured by a suburban Real Estate Investment Trust owned only by resident voters to eliminate the cost of land for commercial investors and homeowners. This would attract new commercial investors. As land is typically half the price of a dwelling, it would half cost new homes to generate a virtuous self-reinforcing self-financing development process.

Ecological money that withered away from a negative interest rate would avoid the inequality generated from the ridiculous unfair idea of money making more money through earning interest. Ecological money would be highly attractive as it would reduces the current excessive cost of the financial system by eliminating bank and credit card transaction fees. These are ten times greater than the cost of privately issued the negative interest rate used during the Great Depression[3]. Ecological money would not carry out its conventional roles of being a store of value or a unit of value. It would simply become a medium of exchange to avoid the inconvenience of barter.

Economic value would be determined independently of the financial system so a stable unit of account could be established. All contracts of exchange would be tethered to terminating money whose value would no longer be subject to alien government economic policies, financial crises, manipulation by central banks, currency wars, speculators, hedge funds, foreign exchange dealers, terms of trade, or any other social, economic or political events as is now the situation. Instead a standard unit of value index would be established based on a sustainable service of nature crucial for sustaining humanity in each bioregion[4]. Economic values used by markets to allocate humans and their necessities, would now be governed by the local environment.

Nowhere in the world can the value of official money be defined in terms of any one or more real goods or services. Money has become a social construct not definable by any specified reality. Yet many believe that prices it creates allows markets to efficiently allocating real things. This irrational belief has become like religion for many economists and policy wonks.

There are a number of other ways of allocating resources than using markets. These are families, clans, tribes, communities, associations, networks and/or hierarchies in the private and government sectors. A new economy would have a more humanistic mix of governance mechanisms. A more detailed outline of my vision and how to get there is presented in my article ‘Sustaining society with ecological capitalism’[5].

 

[1] Turnbull, S. 2000, ‘Stakeholder governance: A cybernetic and property rights analysis’, in R.I. Tricker, ed, The History of Management Thought: Corporate Governance, pp. 401–413, Ashgate Publishing: London,<http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/paper.taf?ABSTRACT_ID=11355>.
Turnbull, S. 2015, ‘‘Winning government with policies for reducing inequality?’ Evatt Foundation, 25 March, <http://www.evatt.org.au/news/winning-government-reducing-inequality.html>.
[2] Turnbull, S. 2017, ‘Democratising the wealth of cities: Self-financing urban development’. Environment and Urbanization, <http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956247816685985?journalCode=eau>.
[3] Fisher, I. 1933, Stamp Script, Adelphi & Co: New York, <http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/roehrigw/fisher/>, and
Turnbull, S. 2016a, ‘Terminating currency options for distressed economies’, Athens Journal of Social Science, vol. 3, issue 3, July, pp. 195—214, <http://www.athensjournals.gr/social/2016-3-3-3-Turnbull.pdf>.
[4] Ibid, and Turnbull S. 2016b ‘Money as a Commons requires a Local Standard of Value’, 7 February, P2P Foundation, Researching, documenting and promoting peer-to-peer practices. Turnbull, S. 2016c, Establishing Sustainable Units of Value’, 8 February, P2P Foundation Wiki, <http://p2pfoundation.net/Shann_Turnbull_on_Establishing_Sustainable_Units_of_Value>.
[5] Turnbull, S. 2015, ‘Sustaining society with ecological capitalism’,, Human Systems Management, 34, 17-32, <http://www.researchgate.net/publication/228320236_Sustaining_Society_with_Ecological_Capitalism>.

Kevin Cox

I am a member of NENA because like most people I get satisfaction from working with others. Most of us enjoy being members of a group and overcoming challenges together. It is even more enjoyable when we know that our success will help other groups. It is even better when success makes a material difference to the welfare of others.  The practical reason for me being part of NENA is to learn how others are trying to change the economic system and to assist others in their efforts to improve our economic system.

 

While my intellect understands systemic global problems and existential threats they do not affect me emotionally because they are too large to comprehend. However, I have become emotionally involved in a particular issue whose solution requires many to work together to resolve.

 

I am frustrated by the waste and hypocrisy of the parasitic financial system so well described by Michael Hudson in “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy”.  My frustration has turned to a mission to help bring the financial parasites under control.  Controlling them will free up resources to assist the resolution of other problems about which others are passionate and which I understand exist.  For me this is the top issue for NENA to address.

 

If we do not control financial parasites the productive economy, and us with it, will die.  Global warming, the threat of nuclear war, the breakdown of civil society, the poisoning of the planet are all direct outcomes of the rise of financial parasites. The challenge is to control them not eliminate them. The financial system thinks it is the economy rather than assisting the economy. It has taken control of money, the lifeblood of the economy, and feeds on it without adding any extra value to the production of goods and services. By taking money from the rest of the economy, it is not leaving enough to pay to fix our other problems.  The financial system is powerful and difficult to change.

 

However, we can change it through incremental mutations in the way it works. We do not try to replace the financial system. Rather we work on mutations that will cause it to shrink.  We can divert the flow of money from the financial system back to the productive economy.  One mutation is to remove the need for money markets as the way to create new money and as the way to distribute money.  The article “The Financial System is Economically Inefficient” describes how to remove the need for money markets and with them the cost of interest, dividends, and capital gains.

 

A useful expertise I have is in designing Complex Adaptive Systems and implementing them on the Internet.  A Complex Adaptive System is a way for autonomous entities to work together with simple connections to achieve a common goal – like everyone in the community having affordable housing and security of occupation of their home.

Ahri Tallon

Over time my social change interests have shifted from environmentalism to economic democracy as a pathway towards a new economy. This is because I believe we need clear theories that can help us to reorganise the failing structures and processes that control power and wealth. We do not know what the new economy will look like because it will forever be changing. But it is guaranteed to require a lot of hard work organising it though. If we want things like commons-based ownership, local currencies and cooperatives to replace crony capitalism from the ground up it will not happen overnight.

 

My interest in how we will get to a new economy took me to Ecuador on University exchange to learn about what a more democratic economic system looks like. There the culture is much more communal. Accordingly, the majority of banks are cooperatives, there are many cooperative businesses and the government’s supports coops with industry trade protection, interest-free loans and other incentives.

 

On the way home I went to conferences and did an internship with a cooperative development organisation in the US. Since the financial crisis class agitation has stirred up the old ideas of economic democracy to become core to the broader new economy movement that has exploded out of the grassroots momentum built by the Occupy movement. In the US the new economy movement has laid out a wonderful example for us here to synergise efforts towards structural and political change, bridge cultural divides, develop collaborative internal bonds and maintain a radically democratic and community focus.

 

These experiences got me thinking about how we can democratise economic decision-making back here in Australia. From a government policy perspective, we have the opportunity to create public banks to better direct investment and use participatory budgeting to decentralise decision-making just as Brisbane City Greens Cr Jonathon Sri is with his $400,000 participatory budgeting project that is giving rate payers a say on what spending decisions are made in the Woolloongabba Ward.

 

However, my key interest is not in government policy about government processes. It is in the huge opportunity to grow the cooperative sector as a core strategy of democratising wealth and how it is controlled in Australia. Although Governments tried to set cooperatives up in the 1980s this top-down model failed. Since the 2000s 50% of cooperatives have closed and many assets have been lost through de-mutualisation. However, there are still 2,000 co-operatives and mutual enterprises in Australia with 29 million members and very good signs change is coming. Recently, Treasurer Scott Morrison made a historic announcement and indicated he would soon clarify the position of co-operatives in the companies act and set out clear rules that will make it much easier for them to raise equity and loan capital from members and non-members.

 

These changes will create more opportunities for workers, buyer and consumer cooperatives in renewable energy, agricultural, housing, health and many other sectors to get a foothold. Surprisingly, the remnants of the old National party have convinced the government to go further in their support. The $13.8 million Farming Together program from the is bringing consultants and farming groups together, to help them with strategic planning, feasibility studies, group negotiation, collaboration and governance cooperatively. The old Nationals know cooperatives have stronger share price growth, greater operational efficiency, lower turnover and that they serve rural communities better.

 

However, for those of us who are acutely aware of the failings of the political system to solve big problems we need to build the cooperative movement as the basis of a democracy movement. Removing power from the haves to the have-nots will take time and it will need to take time if it is going to be a durable transition that embeds democracy more deeply into our culture.

 

One of the most urgent areas where the cooperative form can protect our economy and increase equality is by using the platform and peer-to-peer open cooperative models to mutualise rapidly growing online companies like Uber and Airbnb as has been done in Barcelona and Austin, Texas. Rural communities are also in desperate need of cooperative organising. Now that the baby boomer generation is retiring there are many businesses facing succession challenges. Helping workers get organised to buy businesses from their bosses is one great way to keep profits and decision making locally rooted in already struggling rural communities.

 

So how do we start to build this movement for economic democracy so that we can all work with a greater say and control over our financial fortunes? Like with all social movements we are going to need an army of organisers to develop cooperatives and mutualise existing businesses. We are going to need to build an appreciation of economic democracy ideology so that we have a culture ready to persevere with the structural change to the system. As we build the momentum we will need to help one another through solidarity relationships between cooperatives and regions. But we will also need to demand the government shift regulations, tax incentives and investment funding to favour democratic business over individually owned or shareholder controlled business.

 

This is not about a socialist revolution or banning individual ownership. An economic democracy movement is about recognising the current ownership imbalance and embracing a shift towards more decentralised and participatory decision-making that develop the constructive skills and habits of mind that democratic societies require.

 

It is about rooting ownership and the equal distribution of profits in the hands of workers and local communities to ensure accountability and resilience are built throughout the entire economic system.

 

And most urgently for the sake of all of life on earth, it is about creating an economy that can be transitioned to a steady state system because it is removing the inherent need for growth and competition to accumulate more profit by designing a system around cooperation and sufficiency.