We must restructure our economy. Our human economy is out of balance with our planetary biosphere and throws our world civilization into turmoil and upheaval. There are steps we can take to make effective changes.
Temporary solutions such as so-called bailouts and stimulus plans are short-term fixes that, while they may appear necessary, may do little to stop economic collapse. They may in fact increase its severity. Especially since the short-term advantages of bailouts is wasted. Greedy banksters who chose to pack their pockets with bailout money, for example, squander the time gained to institute the necessary radical reforms.
Those who wield real power such as the superwealthy families who own or if they don’t actually “own” certainly control and influence the international bank cartel, the Corporatocracy, and the levers of government and business will find themselves atop a vast, crumbling pyramid. The ultrarich have accumulated vast power and many of them live in splendid isolation.
Even the wisest among them who have experienced the struggles and horrors of the rest of the world would still feel their way is the best for them. As such most of the global financial elite and their allies apparently feel they can ride out wars, revolutions, economic depressions, famine, and other disasters. They’ve so separated themselves from the rest of the world as to feel they can survive regional and global collapse of socio-economic and geo-political systems.
Throughout history those who seek to empower and enrich themselves at the expense of others to the detriment of their bioregion and their economy eventually found themselves and their civilizations on the edge of extinction. There is nothing wrong with accumulating power and wealth. I appreciate both. The problem is the mass accumulation of power and wealth at the expense of society as a whole. When greed throws relationships out of balance the whole system collapses and even the highest and mightiest fall.
History demonstrates when civilizations damage their environment to a certain point, ecological devastation results including deterioration of water and food supplies. Environmental destruction leads to economic disruption. Economic disruption leads to social and political instability. We’re somewhere in this zone now. Often civilizations make choices at this point. Those that embrace radical change usually survive. Those civilizations that continue down the same path collapse. Warfare results. Often it’s a bloody mix of foreign or international wars with internal revolts and civil strife. Government and society break down. Famine ensues. In the worse cases cannibalism and extinction result. This pattern is called “Collapse,” and is based upon the research of Dr. Jared Diamond, especially his trilogy of critically acclaimed books. His third is titled Collapse.
Humanity is no longer separate civilizations compartmentalized by time and place. We are now one global civilization and any collapse will occur on a global scale. There ain’t no messin’ around here.
Significant restructuring of the economy has to happen. We’re talking a radical restructuring of the human economy on all levels across Earth. This, obviously, will pose significant challenges. While we are one species sharing one planet and have developed an increasingly integrated global economy and communications systems, we are still politically fragmented into less than two hundred nation-states and thousands of stateless nations. Wars and violence of all kinds still blaze and smolder in many regions. And yet we must move forward as we as a species have achieved a planetary economy where success and failure impacts all of us.
Three primary events have to occur. Each will provide challenges and shall require numerous steps big and small to resolve. Mistakes will be made, and I stand we shall learn from these mistakes. Together we venture into unknown territory. We have to build the map as we go forth.
The first two primary events are:
1) Reintegrate the human economy into the environment of our planet, i.e. our economy has to exist in reality and consider the impact of its relationship to natural resources, to the biosphere, and to climate change; and
2) The Money Power must be brought under public control, i.e. democratic governments especially at the national and international level must regain control of the people’s money, including the control and regulation of the currently independent central banking system as well as the marketplace. This principle is somewhat analogous to the establishment of civilian control over the Military Power.
Our governments must recapture the ability to coin, mint, and print money, as it needs without interest and without taxation. This is a public function taken over by the private sector at the expense of humanity in general and the middle class and poor in particular. We can also consider allowing local communities to issue local currencies and exchange programs as long as all monies are sound, i.e. backed by and represent real value and real value set as a determined fixed
There is a third primary event, one of a political nature that eventually must happen. It is desirable that it occurs first and that is also highly unlikely. Baring an unforeseen catastrophe such as an asteroid impact or global pandemic, this event will come to pass. It would serve us all to take on its challenge with intention and purpose.
This third primary event is local-global political integration. For these economic reforms to work best with any serious chance of deep and lasting impact we must come together across Planet Earth to create and establish a transparent, democratic world government. There are many different models to begin with.
Some models consider a global parliament with a planetary prime minister versus a world congress and a world president. Some models propose a bicameral or even tricameral planetary legislature with representatives from different current nation-states or from all the nations including the many stateless ones with a unitary supreme court presiding over a judiciary system. Others prefer pragmatically reforming the United Nations and the Bretton Woods Organizations into a truly democratic world body versus bypassing these and nation-state regimes altogether.
Still other variations envision a federal world republic or a union of republics, a global cooperative of local and regional alliances and networks, one unified planetary military force or perhaps abolishing the military as no longer necessary, and so on. It is not impossible nor a utopian fantasy. Democratic world government is the pragmatic next step in our cultural evolution as a species.
In fact, our choice in an age of codependent but still warring nations is not reclaiming national independence and sovereignty but what kind of world government will we have. World government is already well on its way. Our choice is simple. Will we choose to allow for a world dictatorship or work together to build a world democracy? Freedom or tyranny, it is as simple as that. Building new global structures to support a transparent, democratic world government with a dynamic, integral socially and environmentally responsible capitalist economy will confront us with complex challenges. These challenges, however, already have a number of different solutions.
We have to agree to implement them…or perish.
With urgency in mind, summary of proposed reforms excerpted from my current book in progress on global democracy and economics follows below. There’s much to consider, and we have a lot of work to do. Initial proposals, and they are only proposals subject to change, are:
- Recognize all economic and monetary reforms stem from the necessity that all nations of the world must learn to work together in peace and work together in processes transparent, fair, and democratic to resolve a unique convergence of potentially catastrophic challenges. As such when a specific institution is abolished or reform, recognize and prepare for the appropriate transition.
- Recognize that for the majority of the proposals to work and for the system to function we must have global agreement.
- Dissolve the International Bank Cartel, remove the Neo-Conservative and Neo-Liberal influences from economic globalization, and diminish the power of the financial elite and their allies including the Corporatocracy and the military-industrial-intelligence complex. This requires complex reforms across the entire geo-socio-political and economic-financial spectrum as we move from global empire and fragmented, codependent nations to democratic world government and Earth community.
- We support an evolving, dynamic and sustainable economic model of capitalism termed integral capitalism. As such integral capitalism includes elements of libertarian capitalism, entrepreneurial capitalism, natural capitalism, democratic capitalism, neo-classical capitalism, Social Credit, deep ecology, and conscious, ethical capitalism.
- This dynamic, integral capitalism does NOT support or encourage the models of laissez-faire or classical capitalism, finance capitalism, communism, socialism, corporatism, corporate monopolies, fascism, militarism, feudalism, mercantilism, the Neo-Conservative/Neo-Liberal approach to globalization, and bank cartel control of political and economic institutions. Developing a network of relocalized economies and healthy biospheres is fundamental to a vibrant and productive world wide economic infrastructure.
- This model of capitalism integrates both our human economy and our natural planetary environment. Among the goals to achieve are sustainable businesses, companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, networked entrepreneurs, and the development of abundant wealth with the eradication of poverty.
- Wealth has to be redefined to include an abundance of good health, fresh air, clean water, productive soils, and oceans and forests teeming with life. Economic value has to include the full value of, for example, a tree’s ability to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen, hold soil to prevent erosion, provide shade and shelter for other plants and animals, store water and produce food, not merely how many board feet of lumber can be milled from it.
- We advocate for the development of an educational curriculum in the school systems that include money management, finance, economics, business, entrepreneurship, and related socio-political and environmental issues. Local communities can determine the details and makeup of their curriculums.
- Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are to be encouraged versus merely how to get a job and work for someone else. We need both entrepreneurs and employees, however, and not everyone is cut out to be just one type. Building and sustaining our local-global economy will take both people who want to work for other companies and those who want to go into business for themselves. Often one learns by working with others. This emerging Earth economy will also be positively impacted by employers, employees, and entrepreneurs as they seek to leverage their networks.
- The so-called free market as it currently exists will be phased out and replaced by a fair market that will actually enhance freedom in a regulated and responsible manner.
- Open acknowledgement that markets exist not in a vacuum but within society with the permission of government. As such there are rules and regulations as to how business is conducted in the marketplace and contracts enforced in a court of law. A fair market will be both more cooperative and competitive and will not be dominated by monopolistic powers that abuse the original concept of the free market to dominate and control the market in a socially and environmentally irresponsible and even criminal manner. Different local, regional, and global regulatory bodies for the marketplace are to be determined. A singular central bureaucracy is to be avoided in favor of smaller, flexible, transparent regulatory bodies that serve the public by keeping the marketplaces fair, responsible, and as free within the legal and regulatory container as possible to prevent monopolistic domination and destructive practices.
- The Money Power will be brought under public control. This public control will be transparent and managed by the checks and balances between the public institutions of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. A similar working model is civilian control of the Military Power as it exists in the United States, India, Canada, the European Union, Australia, and Japan.
- Conferences and wisdom councils are to be held around the world to address economic concerns, to debate and deliberate over various proposals for economic reform, and work with various transitory institutions and eventually the Earth Department of Treasury and Commerce (DOTC), the Global Parliament or World Congress, and the local-global banking industry to implement such reforms.
- All central banks of the various nation-states including the Federal Reserve System and the European Central Bank will be abolished as independent and quasi-independent institutions. They shall be reformed and brought under government control and made transparent and accountable to the public.
- The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization will be abolished and/or reformed and brought under government control with democratic bodies accountable to the public in charge.
- Taxation will be abolished as will all tax regimes including the American Internal Revenue Service.
- In each country a new merged Department of Treasury and Commerce will be a top Cabinet-level department within the Executive Branch of government. It will be headed by the Secretary of Treasury and Commerce, a person appointed by the President or Prime Minister and then confirmed by the Legislatures.
- As such the Treasury and Commerce will be the top single economic and financial institution in each state overseeing all other institutions as well as trade and commerce and the regulation thereof.
- As democratic world government evolves, oversight committees within a proposed Legislature of Earth composed by elected representatives from provinces around the world will serve to oversee a planetary DOTC and the banking institutions in the name of transparency and accountability. An office of accounting and audit will be established.
- In the U.S.A., for example, the Judiciary has a responsibility to insure public control of the Money Power is maintained by the Legislature and the Executive in alignment with the Constitution. This is a model for other nations to emulate as we move toward increasing political integration.
- Regulators must be prevented from becoming captive to the very industries they regulate, as what happened in the free markets of America where today’s U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is paid largely by elements of the Bank Cartel it seeks to regulate and thus allowed scandals and abuses to occur. Regulators have a responsibility as public servants to monitor and regulate the Money Power.
- An Earth Precious Metals Reserve under the direction of a Comptroller-General will be established. The EPMR would serve to maintain a public reserve of precious metals while allowing private ownership yet also prevent a private owner or group thereof to concentrate and control the bulk of precious metals. The EPMR will be under Treasury and Commerce, its Comptroller-General appointed by the President and the appointee confirmed by the Legislature, and the Legislature will have an oversight committee to monitor the EPMR. The EPMR will be separate from the proposed Central Bank of Earth. This shall help us establish a pragmatic, resilient, and effective system of sound money.
- At some point during the establishment of a democratic planetary regime the Central Bank of Earth (CBE) will be established and placed within Earth’s Department of Treasury and Commerce. There will be a corresponding oversight committee in the world legislature to monitor the CBE. This will be the one and only central bank for the planet. The Central Bank of Earth shall be under public control, public ownership, publicly transparent, and accountable to the public. The CBE will be directed by Governor-General with a Board of Governors. All Governors will be appointed by the President and then those appointments must be approved and confirmed by a majority of the Legislature. The Governor-General of the Central Bank of Earth serves under the direction of the Secretary of DOTC who in turn serves under the President and Vice-President or Prime Minister.
- The power to determine and set weights and measurements is reserved to the Legislature of each nation. Eventually it shall be so by a future world body. The name and structure of this proposed legislature such as the World Congress or the Global or Earth Parliament is yet to be determined.
- The Legislature has the authority to authorize the coining, minting, printing, and definition of money including currency. The Executive branch can make a request of the Legislature, which shall then consider the request.
- The Department of Treasury and Commerce has the sole responsibility to print and issue money at the direction of the Legislature. Currency flows into and through the Central Bank, but the Central Bank does not have the power to itself print. Money has to be sound and this definition of “sound money” for our current times, based upon the lessons of the past, must be determined.
- The Legislature has the authority to determine, standardize, and set the value of money and then authorizes the Executive including the DOTC and the CBE to make and implement monetary policies with that established standard of value.
- Even before an actual democratic world government is established, there shall be one unified world currency to replace all of the different national and regional currencies. Local communities can still engage in barter and exchange programs with local community currencies of their choice, but the dominant unifying currency shall be the Earth Dollar or whatever the new world currency is called. There will be no more floating and competing currencies, nor shall there be any more unified currency without corresponding political unification.
- We must determined if this unified world currency shall be a modified fiat currency uncoupled from various commodities such as oil and gold as commodities fluctuate in value, in quantity, and are finite. Recognize, too, that gold has lost and will continue to lose its historic value in the same way wood, bone, stone, copper, bronze, iron, steel, and whale oil lost their cultural primacy. And we must also recognize the true value of sound money backed by real, tangible value, and this conundrum must be resolved.
- The one unified world currency shall have a set and determined fixed measure of value just as permanent as 60 seconds = 1 minute and 60 minutes = 1 hour and 24 hours = 1 Earth day remains the determined and fixed measure of time. This fixed measure of value shall not be wavered from. This measure of value for our money is fixed regardless of how much currency is in circulation. Our money will have a declared value per government declaration and societal consent. The declared value will be free of commodity coupling. There can be no inflation and dollar devaluation if the measure of value per dollar remains fixed in value regardless of how much is in circulation and especially as there will be no competing national and regional currencies. We thus create a new instrument to generate an abundance of wealth.
- Although taxation and tax regimes shall be abolished, in principle in case unforeseen emergencies arise the Legislature reserves the sole authority to tax. Even then, in case of some unusual contingency, the tax shall be temporary in nature and limited to a defined time period at which point it can be reviewed for another temporary time period.
- Otherwise there is no longer any need to tax. The government of, by, and for the people shall print what it needs to finance what is deemed necessary rather than imposing taxes upon itself by taxing the people and their enterprises.
- As provincial, city, and county jurisdictions can no longer tax as they are integrated into a planetary economy under a democratic Earth republic, their governing institutions form a public service paid for by the people from the presses of the publicly owned and accountable Department of Treasury and Commerce. This is not a handout of money to federal to local, although it may appear as such on the surface. Instead it is payment by the public to local governments for services rendered. Payment is with a single unified currency of fixed value that is printed by individuals and their institutions in service to the general public. Different jurisdictions can establish public banks.
- Once governments regain control over the Money Power and regain the right to coin, mint, and print the peoples’ money there is no longer any need for interest. Rather than privately owned “independent” central banks controlled by superwealthy families creating money such as U.S. Federal Reserve Notes to lend out at profit even to governments we have the opposite: publicly owned and controlled central bank systems under government regulation accountable and transparent to the people and a Treasury that prints Earth Dollars debt-free into circulation with velocity.
- Local, regional and global community banks are encouraged. They will exist independent of the central banking system yet regulated by them and DOTC. They cannot print their own money, however, and fractionalization has to be reformed.
- As such money, being an artificial construct backed by law as a form of societal agreement, makes the evolutionary step of entering into the public domain of the universal human Commons. And like all resources both natural and artificial, keeping in mind that all things “human” are still part and parcel of the “natural” environment, our money as a common resource shall be regulated by law and used responsibly under hopefully wise stewardship. I say “hopefully” because we humans all have different opinions and beliefs and we all make mistakes. Otherwise with money as part of the Commons we lose all incentive to accomplish anything. The bigger picture, however, is that money is energy, there is an abundance of energy, deprivation, lack and poverty is absolutely unnecessary, and is as common and vital as air. And yet we must take care of our air. The seemingly unlimited amount of air, while abundant, is still limited to Earth’s atmosphere, and we must take care not to pollute and destroy our air any further. The same with money. Keep it clean for all to use.
- With a unified world currency modified fiat money of fixed value will be the norm. Money may not be pegged to or limited by the value of other finite resources but is as abundant and yet as finite in and of itself as is air. Social Credit is also to be deliberated upon as a monetary system applicable for our times. A so-called double-rope system of fiat and precious metals can be discussed, and the proposed Earth Precious Metals Reserve holds a large quantity of gold, silver, and platinum in reserve as a hard asset. But there will be no establishment of a universal gold or silver standard or even oil as such finite resources can not sustain either the local-global economy of billions of human beings and the scale and complexities of expensive projects and systems costing enormous sums to build and maintain such as public infrastructures, energy systems, education, and space exploration and settlement. Again, the inherent tension between the extremes of fiat money with fractionalization and sound money backed by precious metals must be resolved.
- Rather than being completely abolished, fractional-reserve banking practices are to be reformed. Primary reforms include abolishing privately-owned independent central banks and breaking up the International Bank Cartel by establishing, for example, an American Central Bank within the U.S.A. and eventually the Central Bank of Earth as a publicly-owned institution placed within the Department of Treasury and Commerce. Business and financial education in the school system is also a component of banking reform.
- Open-disclosure, transparency, and clear boundaries including clear channels of exchange are established as everyday banking practices. Privacy is respected; secrecy is not. Banking practices including warehousing vs. investing and lending shall be clarified, transparent, and defined. Money can flow back and forth per agreement but the flow is transparent and the agreements disclosed.
- Accounting reforms will not focus merely on the so-called FIRE industries (finance, insurance, and real estate) or measuring the production, profits, and costs of manufactured goods and services, etc., but shall include the value of natural resources, the health of our biosphere, the value of children and stay-at-home parents, infrastructure repairs, health care and prevention, education, and the quality of our trees in storing water, protecting soil as well as wildlife and other plants and exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen will be considered. It shall be remembered that financial, banking, and accounting services originated to serve all other businesses both public and private, not supplant and dominate them. If our financial wizards don’t know how to measure the monetary value of clean air for us to breathe or clean water to drink or a tree to behold, well gosh darn it, go figure it out. If all those sophisticated and complex FIRE instruments and structures can be made up and designed by brilliant sorcerers for clever sophisticates to leverage to generate enormous wealth they can go figure out the value of all the things they once ignored and in fact we all once ignored in our mad rush over the cliffs. Any and all such FIRE instruments must also be grounded in reality with real relationships to tangible, hard assets.
- During the transition, debt will be reconsidered and forgiven. With the institutions of nation-state governments integrated a democratic world government and the dismantling of the current central banking system, no longer will governments need to pay off their debts to the Bank Cartel. None will any longer exist.
- Corporations are legal business structures created by human beings. Corporations are not persons and do not and shall not have the same rights as individual human beings. Corporations exist by privilege and operate in the marketplace within the law. Human beings have the right to form corporations and other business entities. People have the right to work and a right to conduct business and generate money within the framework of law, they have the right to protect legally acquired assets with corporate structures, but their corporate creations themselves have no such rights. Any law in any nation-state including both international and local jurisdictions that grant corporations the same rights as human beings and granting corporations the status of personhood shall be abolished as we transition into a transparent, democratic planetary republic.
Let me be clear about a few things. These are my proposals. Some of them echo the proposals of others. Some I drafted after much research and consideration. Regardless of visions crafted and specific steps actually taken nothing, NOTHING will work for long if we fail to reintegrate our economy with our environment, if we fail to bring the Money Power under public control, and if we fail to achieve democratic world government. Success comes from humanity working together in peace to restructure not just our finances and our economy but our local communities and our global politics. Among people worldwide it is not a matter of will or if we can or even when, but what is our next step?
First, we have to agree to collaborate and cooperate together. At least the majority of Earth’s nations have to agree to work together. Second, we must agree to the broad outlines of “the three big events” that need to happen. Then rather than jumping away in quantum leaps we determine what little bitty steps we choose to take and the stand we make together to do so. And on and so on. And we must do so fast with courage, a willingness to make mistakes, and a degree of co-intelligence.
A burning house doesn’t wait for the fires to be put out and a forest fire creates its own storm. We all have work to do, and you know it. So let’s go. Let’s go now.
William Dudley Bass
11 December 2008
Revised and reposted 11 January 2012
NOTE: This essay was originally published as “Restructuring the Human Economy” in my older Current Affairs blog, At the Brink with William Dudley Bass, on December 11, 2008, at http://atthebrinkwithwilliamdudleybass.blogspot.com/2008/12/restructuring-human-economy.html. It was revised, rewritten, and re-published here this January 2012. Thank you.
Copyright © 2008, 2012, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.