Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Economic Sustainability Chapter Introduction
OLD CHAPTER NAME: ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
NEW CHAPTER NAME: ECONOMIC JUSTICE
SECTION NAME: INTRODUCTION
Green economics offers a positive alternative, grounded in a desire to put human well-being and a safe environment at the top of our government's priorities.
We believe that economic policy must place value not just on material wealth, but on the things which truly make life worth living – our health, our relationships, our communities, our environment, and building peace and justice throughout our nation and the world.
No economic system is sustainable if it wrecks what it depends on. Ultimately, we depend on the Earth, and our current economic system – premised on endless economic growth and destruction of nature – is gravely flawed.
Currently, our government’s top economic goal – increasing the Gross Domestic Product – impels us to perpetually intensify our resource use and environmental destruction. Better economic goals and indicators can lead 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 history: climate change, and its devastating effects. True cost pricing is a critical part of the solution.
During these times of economic hardship, we find it amazing that Democrats and Republicans have done so little to put our nation's unemployed back to work. In contrast, we intend to provide a good green job to anyone who wants one.
Green economics tries to maximize our 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 fund our environmental and social needs.
Greens support community-based economics and regional trade. We support buying local and eating local. The best model of economic security is for a community and region to be largely 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 enrichment 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 more money in the community and the region, rather than going to distant corporate headquarters. This is the most sensible model for economic security. It encourages family farms and community-supported agriculture, co-operatives, 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.
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 does not maximize profits 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.
We Greens are defenders of the commons -- the vast trove of wealth owned by the people, the social and tangible assets we inherit from generations past. Most Americans yearn for a more vibrant and lively commons, such as a richer community life, more parks and protected wilderness, clean air and water, more silence, better access to information and knowledge, and a more nourishing culture. We must stop big business from undermining and stealing our common wealth, such as our public forests and minerals, the fruits of federal research, the public airwaves and the Internet.
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.