Third Party & Independents Archives

Participation

Reading the values of the Green Party made me think of the policy recommendations that Herman Daly had made in the book Sustainable Planet. Mr. Daly is the ecological economist par excellence, backing his sometimes heterodox ideas with a solid academic background and a passion for debunking myths and false assumptions, and educating the public and politicians on alternatives to our consumerist economy.

Daly makes five recommendations for economic policy: stop counting consumption of natural capital as income, shift taxes from labor and investment to resource consumption, maximize natural capital productivity and invest in increasing its supply, move away from globalization toward local and national enterprises, and the final and most comprehensive, and for that the most difficult for our economic paradigm, to stop glorifying self-interest and greed, and to focus instead in communities, environment and our sustainable enterprises.

You could see - or argue that these policies could also be the tenets of a Green Party: after all, the orientation toward a local economy instead of a global one is born from the need to preserve cultures, nations and communities from the terrible homogenization that corporate enterprise brings. Taking care of natural resources, protecting them and properly discounting them when making the ROI for projects such as the ANWR drilling proposal will promptly reveal inconsistencies and hidden costs that cannot be ignored. Shifting taxes to natural resource consumption will place a burden on those activities, such as oil extraction and plantations, that reduce diversity, impact the environment and costs the taxpayer, making the investors more diligent when researching possibilities, encouraging a more environmentally friendly economy.

However, the last policy change that Daly proposes, shifting our reward toward the community instead of the individual, is the one that seems the most utopian: after all, this is the country that excelled and achieved world prominence based on principles of individualism and capitalism - the individual and their money as guidance.
It doesn’t exactly imply negating capitalism and embracing alternative political structures, though: this country has also achieved its superiority though the diversity and variety of opinions, the strength of its communities and the application of compassionate principles to daily life, although punctuated by exact admissions of the need for self-reliance and personal responsibility.

In that light, what could be proposed as a platform for the party is a return to the importance of the individual as connected to a community, a place where every person belongs and their voice is heard - Democracy in action, including the big interests, but also involving small groups that have an important voice furthermore enhanced because they live there, they are part of the community, they know the issues at hand, and their possible solutions.
To sum it up, we need transparency and participation. Glasnost for the USA.

Posted by Camilo at June 19, 2003 4:30 PM