Our Living World Constitution:
Charter for Economic Rights—Preamble

Posted on 23 April 2019

CC BY Church Street Marketplace

Human rights and environmental rights are easier for us to demand than economic rights. We already have respected documents we can point to with which people will be inclined to agree. However, without solid well-spelled out economic rights, these can be easily undermined.

Many people have begun to call capitalism into account. The Guardian writer Phil McDuff says, “Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism…Policy tweaks won’t do it, we need to throw the kitchen sink at this with a total rethink of our relationship to ownership, work and capital.” Sadly far too many people feel that “it is easier to imagine an end to the world than an end to capitalism,” a quote attributed to both Fredric Jameson and Slavoj Žižek.

Most people do not fully understand what alternatives are available. If something is not capitalist, it is frequently deemed communist and therefore not worthy of any thought. The term “pinko” arose during the Cold War era to describe anyone supporting socialist policies, because they were dismissed as only a little less red than the commies. Free education is socialist. Free medical assistance is socialist. Old age pension is socialist. We have these things in Australia, even though they are being eroded.

The fact of the matter is that socialism comes in a variety of flavours and communism comes in a variety of flavours. Some flavours may be more appealling than others. Some of them may even help to rescue us from our own self-destruction. We need to consider what ideas within these social-economic structures might be of use, then leave the rest. I want everyone and every living being to be treated with respect, therefore unconditional social and environmental support by my community and therefore my government is a worthy goal in my mind. Violent revolution is not. However, such a revolution will come about, if enough people become desperate enough. Then mindless change will be enforced upon us all.

In order to write a Charter of Economic Rights I have had to tread into largely untested waters. Just remember that US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was given a free hand to trial his social programs because people were ready to try anything. During The Great Depression the US suffered under a 25% unemployment rate. In Cleveland, the unemployment rate was 50%; in Toledo, Ohio, 80%. Ultimately, a number of his programs were successful. This is why we are hearing talk of a Green New Deal. We are facing the death of our planet and that means our deaths. This is the time to make significant changes.

Below are my beginning thoughts on changes our economic system must make. I will be publishing this economic charter in pieces in order to explain the background to my suggestions. Please take a moment to consider them.


Charter for Economic Rights: Preamble

Economic rights are a critical foundation to establishing human and environmental rights.

Economic imbalance unduly places greater power into the hands of those with greater resources.

Humanity has lived through a history of human rights abuses perpetrated in order to ensure some enjoy more power than others.

Humanity has similarly abused our living world for the purposes of gaining and maintaining power through holding hostage necessary resources, then using coercion to enforce the will of power holders.

This is not a sustainable way to interact with our natural world or one another.

It should not be possible within a truly democratic society for some people to suffer in penury while others do not. For we must all be free and equal in dignity and in rights in order to properly exercise our collective democratic powers.

The answer to these issues is to find better ways to share power, share resources, and interact with our living world as good stewards, ensuring the well-being of our planet in perpetuity.

As such this charter of economic rights is explicitly constructed, in conjunction with our human rights and environmental charter, as part of our newly reformed constitution to establish a means by which to guarantee our future and the future of this planet.


Other articles in this series:


In peace and kindness,

Katherine


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Charter for Economic Rights—Preamble

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