Thursday, 15 June 2017

Democratic Capitalism

By Dirk Helbing

One cannot put the interests of a few hundred people over those of mankind. As long as the mechanism of money-making does not benefit everyone equally, the fate of the world will hardly change for the better. But there are alternatives! The failed approach of pumping trillions into the economy from the top could be replaced by a new approach, where the money is fed in from the bottom, i.e., via the bank accounts of the citizens. Note that I am not talking here about unconditional basic income, because it might eliminate healthy competition as well as creative and performance incentives.

At least a part of this money should be paid out as an investment premium. Everyone should invest it into projects, i.e. distribute it to people with good ideas, and to people who engage for social or environmental matters. Then the money would flow where the best ideas and engagement are. I think it would be the logical next step to go from venture capitalism, to crowdfunding, to participatory budgeting, and finally to crowd funding for all. Such an approach would marry together our two most successful systems – democracy and capitalism – and replace today’s "market-conform democracy", where capitalism threatens to destroy democracy, by "democratic capitalism". According to the constitution, "all men are equal before the law." It is time to demand true equality of opportunity, also when it comes to money creation!

In this new democratic capitalism we would continue to earn an individual salary, depending on what we do for business, society, or the environment. But we could focus on what we consider to be important and right. Combined with "open innovation", the rate of inventions, innovations and investments would be accelerated in all areas of life, from the improvement of neighborhoods to the investment in new technologies. 

Isn’t this what we need in order to allow society to master its challenges in a successful and timely manner? Couldn’t we now reach the next level of our economic, social, and cultural evolution?

Further information:

D. Helbing, Link: Digitization 2.0: A New Game Begins, on Researchgate

D. Helbing, Link: Reinventing Society in the Digital Age, on YouTube

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