Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Economic Sustainability Chapter Introduction
OLD CHAPTER NAME: ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
NEW CHAPTER NAME: ECONOMIC JUSTICE
SECTION NAME: INTRODUCTION
No economic system is sustainable if it wrecks what it depends on. Ultimately, we depend on the Earth, and our economic system – premised on endless economic growth and natural resource destruction – is irretrievably flawed.
Our nation’s top economic policy goal – increasing the Gross Domestic Product – impels us to perpetually intensify our resource use and environmental destruction. Better economic indicators can provide a road map that leads to a sustainable economy.
Our market economy, by externalizing the environmental and social costs of greenhouse gas emissions, is creating the greatest market failure in human history: climate change. True cost pricing is a critical part of the solution to this market failure.
Greens call for an economics that maximizes quality of life with a minimum of consumption. We aspire to less stuff but more happiness. We propose a shift away from materialism to help people live more meaningful lives as we save the planet from climate change and ever larger mountains of waste. We also must restore a progressive tax structure, rather than continuing to enrich the super-rich while squeezing everyone else. We must end the colossal waste of taxpayer funds for armaments and war, to reduce our nation’s federal debt, and provide funding to meet our environmental and social goals.
Greens support community-based economics and regional trade. We support buying local and eating local. We believe that the best model of economic security is for a community and region to be largely (not entirely) self-sufficient in the production of its necessities. We support not the corporate control of “free trade” – which, through the machinations of the World Trade Organization places the desires of multinational corporations above the level of national laws – but “fair trade,” which protects communities, labor, consumers and the environment. Community-based economics and regional trade keep money circulating largely in the community and the region, rather than going to distant corporate headquarters as soon as a purchase is made. This is the most sensible model for economic security. It features family farms and community-supported agriculture, cooperatives of all sorts, farmers’ markets, credit unions, nonprofit community-development corporations, incubator programs to aid start-up small businesses, apprenticeship programs in local businesses, local currency, community-focused banks, and trade with adjacent towns and regions.
Greens believe that the giant multinational corporation is the world’s most potent force for environmental and social destruction. We must change the legal design of the corporation so that it still maximizes shareholder profits, but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, public health, workers, or the communities in which it operates. We believe that some things are too important to be for sale.
Most Americans yearn for a more vibrant and lively commons, such as a richer community life, more parks, clean air, more silence, better access to information and knowledge, a more nourishing culture. Greens believe we must protect and enrich our commons, so that it might enrich us all in return.
2004 PLATFORM INTRODUCTION TO ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
No economic system is sustainable unless it accommodates the ecosystems on which it depends. Our current system – based on the notion of perpetual economic expansion on a finite planet – is seriously flawed. We urgently need to apply human ingenuity to the goal of using far less from nature to meet our needs, which is a different goal from exploiting nature and Third World people so that we can meet the invented and implanted false “needs” that advertisers continually push at us in a grow-or-die type of economy. We need to acquire the ability to distinguish between need and greed, in spite of what the media assure us we “need.” We also need to restore a progressive tax structure, rather than continuing to move money toward the top echelons of society while squeezing everyone else. Such a restoration, plus the end to the bankrupting military adventurism and imperial designs, would significantly reduce the huge federal deficit that has been imposed on the American people since 2000.
Foremost, the Green Party stands for community-based economics and regional trade. We believe that the only model of true economic security is for a community and area to be largely (not entirely) self-sufficient in the production of its necessities. Through foreign trade, they can then export that which is extra, and that which they could afford to lose should environmental disasters, social unrest in their trading partners’ countries, or other disruptions disturb the flow of their trade.
We support not the corporate dominance of “free trade” – which, through the machinations of the World Trade Organization places the desires of transnational corporations above the level of national laws – but true “fair trade,” which protects communities, labor, and the environment. Community-based economics and regional trade keep money circulating largely in the community and the region, rather than going to distant corporate headquarters as soon as a purchase is made. This is the most rational model for economic security. It includes family farms and community-supported agriculture, farmers’ markets, credit unions, nonprofit community-development corporations, incubator programs to aid start-up small businesses, apprenticeship programs in local businesses, local currency, community-focused banks, and trade with adjacent regions. Consumers in this type of market economy prefer to patronize locally owned businesses because each purchase has a positive rippling effect in the community. Unlike other political parties in the modern era, the Green Party views (even community-based) economics not as an end in itself but as a service to community development through the building and strengthening of community bonds that constitute the social fabric.
We can learn from indigenous people who believe that the Earth and its natural systems are to be respected and cared for in accordance with ecological principles. Concepts of ownership should be employed in the context of stewardship, and social and ecological responsibility. We support environmental and social responsibility in all businesses, whether privately or publicly owned.