Review: Economic Direct Democracy – A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being

5 Star, Economics
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

John C. Boik

5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced Comprehensive Proposals Any Group Can Implement, August 3, 2014

I have been thinking recently about various emergent alternative forms of capitalism, including Ethical, Collaborative, Conscious, Inclusive, and Redemptive Capitalism, and found this book as I was working on an article about Open Source Everything and Democratic Collaborative Capitalism.

First off, this is a totally up to date book. Although it is made clear in the front matter that this is an expanded updated edition of the 2012 book, Creating Sustainable Societies: The Rebirth of Democracy and Local Economies I really do want to emphasize this book’s currency up to and including Spring 2014 events and references.

Having looked over a number of other treatments for how to migrate away from predatory financial capitalism with its emphasis on value-extraction and short term financial profit to the exclusion of all other considerations, I find the Mars-family endorsed concept of Mutality to be the most satisfying in terms of over-all philosophy and practice, with a strong kudos to PriceWaterhouseCoopers UK and the Said Business School at Oxford for being well ahead of the pack in their thoughtfulness. Search online for < Brewery Mutuality > to get right to 46-page PDF of very high value.

This book is my other favorite, being a practical and implementable program any community can understand and embrace.

Right off I encounter two terms new to me but both resonate:

Crowd-Based Financial System (CBFS)
Collaborative Governance System (CGS)

The core term of the book is the Local Economic Direct Democracy Association (LEDDA) which requires an entire book to explain but in a nutshell is a local combination of self-governance, self-funding, and self-fulfillment. I find the book written in a startling effective manner, well-organized and ably articulated — this would make an excellent text for both formal classrooms and informal citizen study groups.

The elements of the LEDDA framework are the monetary system, the financial system, the market system, the property right system, the incentive system, the governance system, conceptual models, and the stated purpose, the latter being to “maximize member well-being and benefit the global public.

Economic direct democracy leverages the new-found information-sharing and sense-making tools and the new-found citizen activism to take the power away from governments and corporations, and restore public agency, all with greater transparency,accountability and public participation in all decisions.

The outcome of a LEDDA adopted by a community is full-employment and increased income for all individual members. Human capital becomes the driving factor, not financial capital.

Chapter 6 covers local currencies and token exchange systems while chapter 7 covers principled business model, what some might call a B Corporation or a social enterprise. For myself, I consider all corporations to be operating under public charters, and most government to be totally corrupt in failing to enforce the responsibility of corporations to respect social and environmental parameters. What is happening now is that a small number of corporations — the Mars family among them — are recognizing that sustainable profit demands a co-equal emphasis on People and Planet as well as Profit.

There is a section on Intellectual Property that I find quite fascinating, in part because the author concludes — and cites others as concluding — that often Intellectual Property can create more harm than good for society. As a proponent for Open Source Everything, and a recent convert to the view that open source everything is a model for lifetime full employment, I find this most important.

In Chapter 8 the author itemizes and explains eight differences between LEDDA and the existing financial and monetary systems:

01 Debt-free money creation
02 Focus on economic development
03 Inflation-free money
04 Income equality
05 Environmental stewardship
06 High transparency
07 Alternative conceptual models
08 Community funding decisions

Each of these receives several pages and this is a very important part of the book.

The book ends with a chapter on the collaborative governance system and another on starting and operating a LEDDA. In the latter chapter examples are discussed in relation to specific economic sectors characterized by high consumer spending, including food and beverage, housing, transportation, energy, medical care and recreation, and education and communication. A separate section focuses on climate change and the citizen.

I am not an economist and there is a great deal I have to take on faith here. My bottom line is that this book reeks of practical wisdom, strikes me as very authentic, and therefore I consider the author to be one of the top people who must be consulted as we move toward the creation of Democratic Collaborative Capitalism — most of it very local in nature — going forward.

Absolutely recommended with enthusiasm.

A few other books within my ten link limit:

Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions)
Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (Spectre)
Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times (Sacred Activism)
Other Inconvenient Truths Beyond Global Warming
The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World
Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving Into Liquid War
The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World
The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust (2012)

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