Today I had a chance to meet Christian Felber father of the idea of Common Welfare Economy. An economy which is based on “the same collectively shared values that contribute to fulfilling interpersonal relationships: confidence building, cooperation, appreciation, democracy, solidarity.”
In short what Felber and his team are proposing is a system in which market values and social values are not opposed to each other. Companies and banks would according to them work very differently in the future. However, the Common Welfare Economy is not asking impossible things: “The economy should function in accordance with the values and objectives established by the constitutions of western democracies.” I think we can all agree on that for a future in which human right’s abuses and crimes against the environment are no longer the order of business.
Of course, this means goodbye to GDP which clearly does not show by any means what the economy does do to people. We do not need economic indicators for growth because the economy is a means not a end. The Common Welfare Economy describes it in the following terms: “Economic success should no longer be measured with monetary indicators (financial profit, GDP), but by what is really important, i.e. utility values (basic needs, quality of life, communal values).”
As a tool for this kind of analisis of the impact a company has on the environment, Felber and his team propose a Common Welfare Balance Sheet which companies around the globe are using for their yearly balance. The sheet allows a qualitative outcome and asigns points for five different areas: Human Dignity, Solidarity, Ecological Sustainability, Social Justice and Democratic Co-determination & Transparency. All of which are analized on level of suppliers, investors, staff as well as customers, business partners and products. Finally also the social environment counts for the outcome of the balance sheet. How does it work? You get positive points for actions like dissemination of information and know-how or eliminating interest-rates or the inclusion of disadvantaged people. Negative points are assigned for environmental pollution, hostile takeovers or subsidiaries in tax havens to mention a couple of examples.
Here is an example of how the Balance Sheet works:
Visit the homepage of the Common Welfare Economy to find out more and get involved.