The real threat to our individual liberties comes not from government but rather the “heedless self interest” of those in positions of vast wealth and power, whose greed crushed individual initiative and so restricted the “field open for free business” that private enterprise “became too private … it became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Corporations once had a duty of loyalty to the communities they were in. Now, their only duty is to make the most money for their shareholders, even if it may come at the expense of their employees, the surrounding communities and the general welfare of the American people.
The prevalent emphasis on corporate profits and short-term maximization of profits just isn’t working for a great majority of Americans. This unfortunate situation will only be exacerbated by the onset of automation and AI technology.
Why We Need It
Today, we have masses of people working 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet while our government has done nothing to address the ever-increasing 30+ year income and wealth gaps in our country. In times of high unemployment and economic distress, our government must take steps to restore the balance of economic opportunity in our free market economy.
And just like how President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that “democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself,” our country has now come to this point that he warned about. In such a system, the political equality of the people becomes meaningless in the face of economic inequality as life and liberty are no longer real and the people can no longer follow the pursuit of happiness in their own way, because they have no economic power.
Thus, we need to restore individual liberty as well as make the economy and free market work in such a way as to ensure equal economic opportunity for all Americans, not just the privileged few at the top. For a strong, vibrant economy isn’t possible without the peoples’ purchasing power and we need to correct such injustices and inequalities as they arise.
What We Are Fighting For
Accordingly, it’s time we transitioned to a new type of economy, a Human-Centered Economy, which aims to expand human well-being and fulfillment. A Human-Centered Economy has several central tenets:
- Human beings are more significant than money
- The unit of a Human-Centered Economy is each person, not each dollar
- Markets exist to serve our common goals and values
- Ensuring that all human beings have the opportunity to work jobs with living wages
Augmenting human welfare should be the primary focus of our economy, yet that is decidedly not the case. Occasionally this view aligns with a purely capitalist approach, whereby disparate entities vie for the best ideas. Yet there are a multitude of situations when a capitalist system results in unsatisfactory payoffs. One example of this would be when a pharmaceutical company charges exorbitant rates for a life-saving drug simply because their customers are desperate for the product.
Currently, the Market routinely manages to undervalue many of the people, activities and things which are essential to the human experience. With equality and well-being as guiding principles, we should leverage a Human-Centered Economy to make the economy work for the American people, rather than the other way around. The aim will be to generate measurements encompassing people, not dollars. We should also direct capital to investments to boost human prosperity, instead of to enrich the wealthiest Americans.
Additionally, we need to curb corporate excesses by designating regulators who are paid salaries commensurate with senior positions in the private sector and prevented from going to the private industry afterward. Regulators should have their sights set on making the right decisions and policies for the American public, with no concern for their next position clouding their judgement.
Further, we need to alter the way we evaluate the economy — from the stock market and GDP to a more all-encompassing set of measurements that ensures human beings are flourishing, not just merely scraping by. Novel measurements such as Childhood Success Rates, Mental Health, Median Income and Standard of Living, Health-adjusted Life Expectancy, Social and Economic Mobility, Absence of Substance Abuse, and others will provide us with a better, more substantial sense of just how we’re doing, both individually and as a society.
And lastly, we need to discover fresh ways to raise the standards of living for individual people and families. To prompt development, our government should issue a new type of currency called the Digital Social Credit. This can be turned into dollars and utilized to reward people and organizations which propel notable social value. With this new currency, the American people would be able to calculate the amount of good they have achieved through various programs and actions.
What It Will Do
A Human-Centered Economy allows us to reshape how we measure progress and value, helping us reconceive why we do what we do. The time has come to build an economy that actually makes our lives better and a Human-Centered Economy will help us do just that.