“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 Assembly”, in which the fundamental questions in a particular city, region or country are discussed and voted on by the population.
Economic Assembly – Common Good Product
A first example of an economic assembly is included as an appendix in the current edition of “Change Everything” by Christian Felber. This can help people get an idea of what type of questions could be asked. A first exercise could consist in composing democratically the „Common Good Product“. It is a core idea of the ECG model and consists of the 20 most important elements of life quality, a good life for all or – the common good. Different from the UN SDGs, the OECD Better Life Index or Buthan‘s Gross National Happiness, the Common Good Product would be composed directly by the citizens. After sorting out the 20 mostly supported subgoals of an unlimited number of proposals, an implementation committee would have to find 1 to 3 indicators with which the achievement of the subgoals are measured. The Common Good Product can be measured as a whole – e. g. in Common Good Points – or by each and every of its 20 subgoals. The ECG movement is currently preparing such a convention for its own internal organization. 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?