Economy for the Common Good (ECG) is an alternative economic model, in which economy and politics are regarded as one. ECG is not itself a political party. It attempts, however, to win supporters in as many parties as possible, similar to the strategy of human rights and environmental NGOs. ECG cooperates only with organizations, which recognize human dignity, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the peace principle.
Political decisions in support of ECG principles have already been taken in various bodies and there are some examples of legislation. In addition, numerous politicians have registered as supporters of ECG.
Overview of political decisions
Wielenbach in Bavaria, Germany has made its way towards an Economy for the Common Good by unanimous decision of the municipal council. In Febraury 2019 the city council of Mertzig, Luxemburg unanimously voted to become the country's first ECG municipality.
The district parliament of Marburg-Biedenkopf, Germany has adopted the Economy for the Common Good in its sustainability strategy.
As stated in an official decree from February 1st, 2017, the government of Valencia, Spain promotes companies, associations and foundations that apply the ECG principles. The regional governments of Salzburg, Austria (2013), Baden-Württemberg, Germany (2016) and Hesse, Germany (2018) integrate ECG into their government programs.
Christian Felber was invited to the German Bundestag as an expert on the European Union’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive
In 2015, the Economic and Social Committee (EESC) drew up a 10-page initiative opinion on ECG, which was adopted on September 17th, 2015 with 86% of the committee voting in favor.
The United Nations Development Programme invited Economy for the Common Good to present its concept.
Examples of political implementation
The first certified common good communities in German-speaking countries are the towns of Mäder and Nenzing in Vorarlberg, Austria and Kirchanschöring in Bavaria, Germany and Klixbüll, Breklum und Bordelum in North Frisia, Germany. In Stuttgart, Germany several city-owned enterprises have completed Common Good Balance Sheets. The city itself has hired a staff person solely dedicated to implementing ECG and is subsidizing private business that draw up a Common Good Balance Sheet. The district of Höxter, Germany has integrated the ECG into a LEADER project. Marburg, Germany actively informs the public about ECG.
Democratic Conventions - Sovereign Democracy
"Post-democracy" is a field of political science which discusses the crisis state of democracy. Brexit and the elections of populists around the globe are symptoms that democracy does not function as many would like it to. There are, however, signals of hope. In Munich, Germany the people forced the closure of the coal power plant, in Ireland the Citizen Assemblies have proven very effective, and in Iceland, a People's Constitution has been drawn up by a citizens' convention.
Economy for the Common Good has developed the concept of "sovereign democracy". It states that citizens are the sovereign and therefore hold the final say in decisions of national import. The concept of sovereign democracy can be developed step by step over the next years and can then be put into practice. The initial idea consists of a series of reforms and new rights for the sovereign. One of these is the instrument of the "Democratic Convention", in which the fundamental questions in a particular city, region or country are discussed and voted on by the population.
A first example of an economic convention is included as an appendix in the current edition of Economy for the Common Good by Christian Felber. This can help people get an idea of what type of questions could be asked. The ECG movement is currently preparing such a convention for its own internal organization. We want to ‘walk the talk’ and implement the same tools we are propagating. The first municipalities and districts have shown interest. The first real conventions are starting in Münster and Minden, Germany.
As part of her Master’s thesis, Martina Schmitt from the University of Kassel, Germany made a survey based on the Book Money – The New Rules of the Game from C. Felber of 121 visitors at an exhibition in Switzerland about money. The 30 questions covered topics such as how our money system should be designed, target setting for banks, guidelines for lending and for the creation of money. In 92.6 % of the cases, the participants agreed to proposals that deviated from current government policy. Favored proposals included limiting the size of banks, allowing bank loans only for real transactions, an ethical credit check and limiting the creation of money to central banks. The proposal "The Common Good should be the primary goal of a bank" was supported by 68%.
In his book "Ethics-based Trade", Christian Felber has prepared 20 possible questions on 12 key topics for an international trade order. In a first trial round on the Internet, 150 volunteers voted on the proposals. Although this sample is not representative, the result is encouraging. Where will the first formally legitimate and representative convention take place?
Voices from Politicians
It is obvious to me that our way of doing business must be more oriented towards the common good. We can only counteract the challenges of our time, such as climate change, loss of species or segregation, if we assess our way of doing business according to its social impact, establish new measures of success - such as the common good balance sheet - from the local community to the EU, and thus create strong transformative incentives for market participants.
The principle of the Economy for the Common Good seems to me to be a good tool to implement the United Nation’s SDGs.
The ideas of the Economy for the Common Good have a comprehensive intersection with our efforts to develop the district of Marburg-Biedenkopf in a sustainable, open, cooperative, participative and transparent fashion. The ECG inspires our current transformation process.
In my long work with ECG I realized that its methodological approach brings together the strategy of social and environmental responsibility in the economic world with the needs of the people in their regions.
Politicans who support ECG
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