Economies for the Common Good

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Common Good Balance Sheet
Common Good Balance Sheet

Introduction

In order to tie together the social values reform which touches on human behavior (7P3H and DUHR) and how we interact with the environment (UDRME) we will also need a way to ensure that our corporate and political entities also conform to our new eco-humanistic ethical values. This is definitely required because, even if everyday people follow better ethical values and our politicians and businesses do not, then we will be powerless to stop them from their depredations much as we are now.

Common Good Balance Sheet For Businesses and Organizations

A primary valuation for national economic and business policy shall be the Common Good Balance Sheet (CGBS), when properly based upon the our 3 previously mentioned foundation ethical documents they should also influence taxes, fees, and other economic and business decisions; for economics devoid of conscience manifests horrors into the world as we have seen throughout ALL of humanity’s history from slavery, genocide, poverty, and war, pollution, ecological destruction, and so much more. 

Here is a video below on the Common Good Balance Sheet from a TED Talk:

Once a Common Good Balance Sheet is agree upon through a social and democratic process, then existing businesses laws, business entities (LLC’s corporations, etc), political organizations, and other organizations NEED to be rated and reformed with the new ethical, philosophical, and sustainability foundations. These changes alone should prevent most issues social, political, corporate, and environmental corruptions.

As a part of this process, business owners, managers, and employees should be required to take an educational course covering the foundations for ethical business and require yearly recertification to ensure that such things are fresh in their minds and that there made aware of any updates in this foundation.

  • New Businesses: ALL new businesses created will be required to have new ethical foundation.
  • Existing Businesses: Businesses created before passing this requirement have a year to create 5-year business plan to convert their operations to this new ethical foundation. This would also require significant changes in many of the industries that are egregiously violating these eco-humanistic ethics such as the fossil fuel industry, Walmart, those using sweat-shop or slave labor, and so on.

Enforcement Through Taxation

The primary issue with most global businesses and industries, especially in the US, is the callousness and mercilessness of unbridled capitalism whose undeniable motto is ‘Profit no matter the human or environmental cost!“. So, we will start by fixing that through the following three powerful methods:

  1. enact business entity reform that requires eco-humanistic ethical foundations
  2. add in monetary enforcement through taxation and government contract requirements
  3. finish it off with an oversight organization

Although such ideas may seem radical for those of us suffering through the horrors of unbridled capitalism in the US and other places around the world such as Africa, I want to say that there really is nothing new with this idea because some of the Nordic (and a few other) countries are doing this already. If they can do it, then we can also do it.

Monetary Incentivization

Ethical Taxation

Taxation for businesses (and their top level managers) will be based on or modified through this Economies for a Common Good (ECG) taxation model; i.e. how well they conform to the ethical and philosophical framework will determine where they fall on progressive ladder of taxation. The more compliant and ethical, the lower the taxes. The less compliant and ethical, the more the taxes. A progressive taxation method will also provide a way to disincentivize violating ethical practices as well as providing a direct and long term punitive method for those who choose to engage in unethical and harmful business practices.

When this process is first implemented there should also be a progressive increase (or decrease) in taxation based on compliance during the 5 year transition period to act as a motivation to transition. Those who comply with higher levels sooner will already benefit from lower taxation.

Now, just saying company must be a sustainable business is not enough, because that can be construed however the business or the auditor would like, so these ethical foundations must come with concrete measurable regulations to show that they are compliant. Here are some examples of such:

  • how much of their byproducts from manufacturing are recycled
  • livable minimum wage, health insurance, and other benefits
  • low income disparity between highest and lowest paid person
  • business is powered by sustainable energy

… and other methods of ensuring that a organization is doing well for the people and for the environment.

Annual Taxation Increase for Flagrant Violation

An annual increase in taxes (beyond the base progressive taxation levels) of let’s say a cumulative 5% should also be included for each year that they are not compliant at or below the lowest level (Level 1) or are not showing some significant progress towards working for the next level of compliance. This will specifically affect those companies which flagrantly violate the ethical requirements and just pay for it out of their vile accumulation of money through their horrific business practices. Eventually, with the ever increasing tax rate, they will have to comply or their company will go bankrupt creating a financial imperative to change or the company will be lost. The most vile violators can also be jailed for Crimes Against Humanity or Crimes Against Nature as would be appropriate. Iceland had amazing success in jailing their bankers and has completely turned their economy around after a move like this.

Example of Progressive Taxation for Compliance

For argument’s sake, I am just going to throw numbers out here with no thought behind them – just numbers to illustrate the idea here. Here is a quick example with Level 1 being the lowest level of compliance and Level 5 being the highest.

  • Level 1 – 50%
  • Level 2 – 40%
  • Level 3 – 30%
  • Level 4 – 25%
  • Level 5 – 20%

Again, theses are just off-the-cuff numbers to give you an idea of what I am thinking here and how powerful it would be. I imagine that these numbers would be higher over all based on modifications for general progressive taxation with a 99% marginal tax rate. We would want to look to the countries that are already doing this to see how they are doing it to educate us and empower us as we move forward so we can prevent mistakes that have already been done by those who are successfully doing it now.

After 3 years of flagrant violation at Level 1 then they will be at 60% taxation for their base tax rate. Keep in mind this would not take effect until they after the law was fully in effect (the 1 year for planning and 5 years for implementation for existing businesses, then 1 more year or non-compliance).

As far as enforcement is concerned:

  • Levels 5 and 4 should be very critical, hard-assed, and punitive
  • Level 3 should be very critical too, but they are almost to a decent level
  • Levels 1 and 2 can be more relaxed
Example of Progressive Taxation Plus Modifiers for Compliance

With this idea we start with standard aggressive progressive taxation ladder and then we add a compliance modifiers to that. Again, this is not an area I have studied, so I am just pulling numbers out of the air here so we have something to work with and so you can see what I am talking about.

Aggressive Progressive Tax Ladder
  • $0 – $35,000 – 0%
  • $35,001 – $50,000 – 5%
  • $50,001 – $75,000 – 10%
  • $75,001 – $100,000 – 15%
  • $100,001 – $250,000 – 20%
  • $250,001 – $400,000 – 30%
  • $400,001 – $550,000 – 40%
  • $550,001 – $750,000 – 50%
  • $750,001 – $1,000,000 – 60%
  • $1,000,001 – $1,250,000 – 70%
  • $1,250,001 – $1,400,000 – 80%
  • $1,400,001 – $1,550,000 – 90%
  • $1,550,001 – $1,700,000 – 100%
  • $1,700,001 – $1,850,000 – 110% (extra brackets available for higher levels of compliance)
  • $1,850,001 – $1,900,000 – 120% (extra brackets available for higher levels of compliance)
Ethical Compliance Modifiers
  • Level 1 = +20%
  • Level 2 = +10%
  • Level 3 =    0%
  • Level 4 = -10%
  • Level 5 = -20%

With an very aggressive base taxation ladder such as above these compliance modifiers really make a difference.

Individual and Corporate Taxes Based on Benefit to Humanity and the Environment

All tax credits and bonuses not only for corporate ad political entities, but also for individuals too shall be based on those ethical things that actually matter:

  1. reducing inequality
  2. increasing quality of life for all people
  3. increasing quality of climate, environment, ecologies, etc…
  4. rewarding service to humanity (curing cancer, fusion, etc)

Government Contracts

Perhaps an even more powerful motivator would be having governmental requirements for ethical compliance in order qualify for their lucrative contracts. This would get many industries and businesses moving quickly. However, these same businesses would also be raising hell during the process to stop these changes from becoming law because violating ethical standards is how they make their money and keep their managers rich while abusing its workers, the world, and the environment, as well as being some of the primary corporate owners of our government.

Oversight Organization

Another part of this solution would be to have an oversight organization to help guide and monitor these industries and businesses as they switching to this new reformed ethical business model to ensure things go as they should. It will be a rough start at first, but as they get their footing, a set of guidelines, methods, best practices, and requirements, will be developed so that future businesses and industries will have an easier time. This governmental oversight organization will also be in charge of monitoring and providing the required input for enforcing the ethical taxation model.

Activist Input and Review

This oversight organization should take in input from activist organizations who monitor the various areas of concern. This will provide a 2 fold benefit:

  1. The first being that it will be much harder for the corporations to buy off a pass, because they would have to pay off and influence all of the activist organizations.
  2. Second, these activist organizations will be very active in this because they want real change, so they will not mince words and will have a level of political insulation and objectivity that members of a government organization will not have due to potential internal politics and corporate influence and control.

Conclusion

These above three steps which start to enact an ethical foundation for businesses will solve many of the issues with predatory capitalism, because the primary issue with predatory capitalism which also includes monopolistic practices is due to a lack of ethics in business practices: abuse of the consumer through price-gouging, lack of choice, abuse of workers, destruction of the environment, etc. Having the ethical and philosophical requirements as well as taxation base standards built in will help to jump-start and enforce more ethical businesses.