Economy for the Common Good
Northfield’s Dick Rodgers (right) occasionally attends WMNEG meetings and his concept of the Common Good focusses on seven key issues, listed on his website.
Today’s inbox brought news of another initiative: Economy for the Common Good (link does not work on all browsers). The e-correspondent wrote: “The group has established an interesting economic concept which moves away from a purely financial focus in business. Instead, through a technique called the Common Good Balance Sheet, measures are put in place to look at organisational focus on human dignity, cooperation, ecological sustainability, social justice, and transparency and democracy”.
A search found that Wikipedia describes Economy for the Common Good as a social movement advocating an alternative economic model which reevaluates economic relations by, for example, putting limits on financial speculation and encouraging companies to produce socially-responsible products: “It calls for working towards the common good and cooperation instead of profit-orientation and competition which lead to greed and uncontrolled growth”.
Christian Felber coined the term in his book Die Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie – Das Wirtschaftsmodell der Zukunft, published in 2010. According to Felber, it makes much more sense for companies to create a so-called “common good balance sheet” than a financial balance sheet. The common good balance sheet shows the extent to which a company abides by values like human dignity, solidarity and economic sustainability”.
Over 1200 companies actively support the concept of Economy for the Common Good and a few hundred of them have committed to creating the common good balance sheet.
These include Sparda-Bank Munich, the Rhomberg Group and Vaude Outdoor. According to proponents of the movement, the success of a company should not be determined by how much profit it makes, but rather by the degree to which it contributes to the common good.
In the words of noted economist Martin Wolf, “[I]f the legitimacy of our democratic political systems is to be maintained, economic policy must be orientated towards promoting the interests of the many not the few; in the first place would be the citizenry, to whom the politicians are accountable”.