Another try at scratch draft of the framework. A lot of this is in shorthand; after I’ve let this draft sit for a few days, if it feels like a good direction to pursue, I’ll start fleshing out more details.
Most people feel like big corporations and the rich have been doing great while the rest of us are struggling to keep our heads above water. But can we do anything about it?
Establishment framework: this is just the way it is — and if government bureaucrats try to “pick winners and losers” or otherwise meddle, they’ll just screw it up.
Reality: lots & lots & lots of pieces of economy shaped by decisions made by big corporations and the rich — either using the government or direct economic power. But what decisions are being made and who make these decisions are hidden from the public.
Liberal/moderate economic framework: Market basically works, we just need to fix “market failures.” Otherwise we end up with “command and control,” which communist countries have shown doesn’t work.
Reality: Given how much “market failure” & resulting government intervention there is, the idea of “market failure” obscures more than it reveals. Also obscures that someone makes the decisions about what counts as a “market failure” (e.g., is the “market failure” just the 2008 crash, or is it the insane power Wall Street now has, the fact that homeownership became unaffordable for new homeowners & the fact that the housing market was turned into a casino, etc.?), “consent,” etc. — and who benefits from these definitions.
At the same time, Establishment and Liberal frameworks do have a point: although we have and use a lot more influence over the economy than we admit, we can’t control the economy. In the long term, not clear what’s possible. In the shorter term, also not clear what’s possible (e.g., Alta Gracia anti-sweatshop experiment).
The real question: how do we create a more just economy when we’re not sure what’s possible?
1) Change the Balance of Power so Everyone Has a Real Say
a) What is a “Real Say”? Electing the president & the power we have as consumers? Joining a union to build power in the economy? Worker ownership?
When does “Real Say” mean Choosing Together and when should it mean individuals or small groups choosing (centralized versus decentralized)?
b) What is “Changing the Balance of Power”: how to ensure actions build & maintain power
Institutions –> Build Power, Foster Engagement & Mobilization
Occupy Wall Street and alternative banking — depending on how you do it, may or may not create more power
c) Spiderman’s Dad: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
To have a Real Say, need to create space for Real Conversations — tough trade-offs (not the so-called tough choices of “entitlements” where somebody else’s grandma will be eating cat food)
Hard to have a real conversation if you’re sure you’ll get stepped on (e.g., climate tax)
2) We’re Not As Smart As We Think We Are
Starting point: why do folks get into trouble now?
Market myth obscures reality of how often “market-based” solutions screw it up now
Strategies for Dealing with Uncertainty:
A) Everyone Has a Real Say
All the rest is irrelevant if you don’t focus on building & maintaining power — won’t get to actually try & learn if you don’t have power
Open Source Motto: With 1000 Eyes, All Bugs Are Shallow
B) Prime the Pump
Encourage lots of small scale innovations & experiments to learn from
Harness decentralized, bottom-up — from everyone, not just those who have resources/privilege
(dovetails with Everyone Has a Real Say)
C) Feedback Loops/Accountability
Did you do what you said? Ex: does increasing savings lead to increased investment which lead to good jobs? Or just outsourcing, downsizing, and big fat bonuses?
Fail forward, catch big problems early — 1000 eyes instead of canary in coal mine
(dovetails with Everyone Has a Real Say — and are accountable/responsible for that say)
D) Stack the Odds in Favor of the Good Guys
Pulls together much of the other three strategies
Allows for flexibility — rather than just specific rules — that helps with uncertainty and at the same time keeps accountable
To help catch mistakes: “How Do the Good Guys Make Payroll?”
3 core strategies for stacking the odds:
* Level the Playing Field
* Make It Easy
* Create Markets
Ex: Justice for Janitors & Level the Playing Field. Difference between this & just a rule: thought about what small janitorial services & property managers could afford if all other players can’t compete by cutting wages & benefits