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December 20, 2005

"Solidarity economics and design"

An edited podcast of my lecture last week at the Royal Society of Arts in London is available online.

Posted by John Thackara at December 20, 2005 07:28 PM


Criteria for Anti-Imperialist Governments:

A Minimum Framework for Revolucionarias Verdes: The Only Non-Fascist Response to Capitalism and Climate Catastrophe

1. Cancel all foreign debt to US and European banks.
2. Nationalize and then turn over to regional control all important industries.
3. Restrict imports through tariffs and trade preferences for friendly countries.
4. Boycott the USA dollar, hold your reserve currencies in gold, silver, platinum or Euros until a revolutionary currency or a Libertated Block SDR.
5. Eliminate regressive labor, pension and minimum wage legislation.
6. Deport the IMF, their agreements, and all USA government or commercial agents.
7. Impose austerity programs and regressive tax laws on the rich.
8. Abolition/prohibition of all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) (and high restrictions on research); abolition/prohibition on toxic chemicals and the overuse of agricultural chemicals. Support regional agriculture research and seed production.
9. End the Expansion of Mass Transit
10. No private cars in urban areas; motorized transport in urban areas primarily for business deliveries, the handicapped and elderly.
11. High fuel taxes (2-4 dollars per gallon) on all private fuel sales. High vehicle registration/disposal fees on all private vehicles.
12. Abolition/prohibition on corporate business structures employing more than 100 people.
13. Beyond these restraints on transport, economic concentration and toxic materials we believe that a democratic and sustainable government will reduce imports, end dependency and invest in the localized production of basic needs goods (food, water, energy, building materials and all of the tools required to produce each of these necessities.).
14. The sign that a sane government is operating will be seen when the workers are given the factories they work in and people the homes they live in – debt free. Once that is done and food is prioritized we won’t have to worry about economics.

What is novel and truthful about this program is that it would work for 8 billion people.

No other plan can make this claim

Things to Consider Economics and Policies for a New Bolivia

I. Macro factors:

1. Loans and Debt to International, National and Domestic lenders.
Solution: Cancel them.

2. Future Loans: From Venezuela, other neighbors, NGOs, generally not considered important when the government and its taxing authority are controled by the people.

3. Foreign Ownership:
a. Large or Strategic Industries
b. Medium sized and importance industries/sectors.
Solution: Nationalize (expropriate) all large/important industries and negotiate taxes, management and investments with smaller industries, businesses and organizations... Use taxes to drive some bankrupt and huge performance or cleanup bonds on others. Restricy exports of any capital (machine) goods.

4. Currency: Given the reduced importance of trade (non-contract) and the sizeable currency reserves that should be available, currency issues are not as pressing as in older scenarios. Either maintain strict currency controls or use non-convertible currency and severe penalties for cheaters.

5. Central Bank: Under direct control and supervision of the congress with full transparency and public access.

6. Taxation: Income: zero taxes for 80 percent of people; 40 to 80 percent taxation for top 5 to 15 percent of income earners. Steep fines for fraud.

7. Size and Functions of Government: (Data to compare to other countries, Peruvian States, Venezuela and US states)
a.) National

b.) Regional:

c.) Local:

8. Trade Partners and Agreements: Preferences given to neighbors, friends and price factored in only as a minor factor.

9. Trade Barriers: High taxes on luxuries and on many basic goods (if they need to be imported or are in competition).

The key to reducing waste and equalizing incomes is to utilize ration coupons and to charge for services (like water, power, garbage, schools and health care) according to a sliding scale. Everyone would receive monthly coupons for transport, basic foods, utilities and medicines. Home ownership would be very cheap as land trusts would capture increased speculative values and yearly coupons for basic building supplies would make improvements and maintenance cheap. The charges for basic levels of water, power, medicine, health care and garbage/sanitation would be about equal to the coupons received by households. Those wanting to consume more would pay steeply increasing rates. Those people who consume less than the basic levels could sell their coupons on the open market – though the coupons would be numbered to control excess graft.

The major expense of non-farm families would be food. Community councils could grant temporary emergency rate relief in special circumstances – such as: a severe cold spell where energy consumption goes up, a widow with many children, or say a company that lost its bio-diesel generator and needs to buy extra electricity. Flexibility and a joy of learning will be important to the success of experiments in New Democracy and Sustainability.

Posted by: jason at January 18, 2006 06:17 AM

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