Continued. Read Part I of the article here
By Cage Innoye
We are now addressing all of our values, monetary or material wealth is only one of these values in a set matrix of values. This new wealth is a new kind of wealth, it is a metric wealth. It includes the material, the monetary and much more. We now know how much we have, the quantity of it, and very importantly, the quality of it too.
New accounting and conventions are called for, we can call it the GMP, the Gross Metric Product of a society. The GMP gives us an overall snapshot of the total state of our progress, of our achievement. The dollar is a declining measure, it gives us a very narrow and warped and misleading picture of our true wealth, the GMP offers us the full assessment of our wealth and impoverishment, our quality and lack of quality, and our material and nonmaterial storehouse. The “Wealth of Nations” has now been redefined.
So far we have created the concepts of metrics, the leagues and the GMP. What we need next is a new kind of stock and bond exchange, and new investment banking. The MBX is a working term for these new financial institutions, standing for Metric Banking and Exchanges.
The MBX would be an institution operated by moral and principled individuals dedicated to the formation of new economy and not driven by desires of wealth and power. The MBX would assist in creating the metric measure strategies for firms and periodically audit firms and then publishing the metrics for all to see. The MBX would be the new stock market with new rules that prevent manipulation. The MBX would assemble investors to invest in metric startups. The MBX would even sell bonds to fund itself in its efforts to build up a new economy. Further, there can be a variety of MBXs that reflect different strategies and philosophies and social strata. This does not matter because diversity is a key notion in the new system.
An MBX will lead to new kinds of financial instruments based on the new metrics, new valuation methods for companies and stocks and bonds.
These new institutions are of a different type, they express a new morality, new goals and new kinds of personnel. These new people will think differently, the new MBA, will be a Metrician of Business Administration. They will be mendicants of a new “middle way” between the pure and the world. They will manage resources, organization and money but they will not be corrupted by profit and power. The new economic leaders are people whose goal is the formation of a just and scientific economy to help ordinary people.
New views of compensation and equity are coming. A culture of greed is coming to an end. We will reevaluate wealth and materialism as Human values. Society will be engaged in a long debate that may last decades or a hundred years on these issues -- but we must do this because we know a culture that only pursues money, profit and greed CANNOT survive. It will eat up Human beings and eventually destroy the whole ecosystem.
Another major view of the new Metric Economy is about ownership. A diverse view of ownership is evolving, a full spectrum of equity forms is required to maximize social participation from individual to social forms. The old bias is the standard corporate form; the new bias is toward types of democratic corporations and cooperatives. The old corporation that presented itself as a social form to gather other people’s capital has a thin veneer, a shell of democracy but in fact is undemocratic and anti-social.
Equity forms that require worker participation result in a new kind of employee, one who thinks like an MBA. This is the dues one pays for democracy – direct participation and personal responsibility.
But more than a new worker, we have in a nation a new kind of citizen, for this citizen thinks in terms of metrics, she or he learns to be an investor, consumer, worker, owner. This is the new mindset for a new age of economics where everyone is an economist, business person and financier.
The rise of this kind of economic culture creates challenges. We now have a complicated situation appearing, a dual economy situation arises, the old and the new are simultaneous and competing. And this is more than economics; this is a conflict about values and psychology. Even government becomes a key field of contention, and the forces of the new economy do their best pushing for direct democracy, for direct democracy in government is the political equivalent of direct economic democracy.
Various complex strategies are applied to grow the new system and reform old firms and marginalize the unreformable and unrepentant.
Metric capital becomes a force of its own, it recreates itself, its values call forth more value of the same nature – thus, more investing and purchasing and support go to the metric firm over the non-metric firm. Metric capital becomes a multiplying force, our values grow, more are won to them, society changes, inroads are made into major social problems.
At the same time we are re-creating money. Money is not just money and profit, we have a new kind of money, composite of all of our metrics. And we find that money is ultimately a creative process under our control, subject to our imagination and practicality. Moneyis no longer supernatural and mystical.
This is not capitalism anymore; this is a new system, completely new. It represents a radical break with the past.
This new economy works fundamentally in civil society; it unleashes the idealism of a people in their everyday lives. It promotes individuality, initiative and creativity.
It is not a government program. The Diverse Economy or Metric Economy is not run by bureaucrats, parties or politicians; this system relies on the power of diversity, of the social diverse.
But government has a role to play, there is no doubt about that. Government can help in this transition to a new economy in various ways. It can support tax breaks to metric firms, it can require metric accounting and reporting by firms that apply for government contracts, it can support formation of Leagues and more.
Further, government activities and services are still needed. Fiscal policy still operates because of the use of money and the general need to coordinate a vast market system.
What we have learned in several hundred years of economics still applies -- all the lessons, rules of thumb, techniques and tools are still quite useful and necessary. Now we add to this the realm of metrics, a new kind of “fiscal policy” which can adjust metrics higher or lower, with focus on this set or that set.
Government regulation continues. But as metric firms become the norm, much regulation is now internal. External regulation is still necessary on critical themes, potentially criminal issues and national metrics. Monopolies must still be controlled or broken up.
The Leagues system can now handle a large number of issues. Government can shift focus to fiscal policy, national plan.
Socialism is antithetical to a Metric Economy; the Diverse Economy is neither capitalism nor socialism.
Socialism in general does not work as the 20th century has shown, but socialism in particular that is where government or community ownership is quite natural in some cases like a local utility, or where there is a critical problem due to a market failure as in the case of healthcare. Socialism is not to be confused with a social safety net which is a moral imperative in modern economies. And further socialism should not be with necessary government programs to end poverty, for example.
Civil society is where the creative energy of a population resides. Government is by nature bureaucratic, inefficient and emotionally removed from the people. In the long run, one only needs to let the creative forces be free and problems of economics, innovation and social services can generally be solved.
In this age of economic crisis, the government appears as the only bulwark against corporate failure. Government is called upon to fix this or that problem, and it is often right to do this for we have no choice, we have no alternative system or culture or force. But in the future, we can rethink all of this when we have the triumph of a Metric Economy, then we can see what services and functions can be taken over by the Leagues, offering a more direct and caring solution to individuals and their social problems.
Another area where the Metric Economy changes the rules is in the relation of profit to nonprofit enterprises. Because we are now thinking in terms of money and metrics to grade performance, we have become flexible so that we can now merge profit and nonprofit forms. So for example we can look at universal healthcare as a nonprofit government program which must also have a strategy for profit-oriented healthcare companies. While we are offering universal healthcare at the distribution end of the process, we must not neglect the manufacturing end of the process, we also must deal with the problem of costs for basic health goods – MRI machines, blood testing equipment, drugs etc. Market systems are valued because they create innovation and competition and thus drive down costs. So a government approach to a national medical plan must also have a market strategy to drive down costs by increasing entrance into industries, promoting research and development, limiting the term on patents, and breaking up monopolies...otherwise costs will rise out of sight no matter what kind of universal healthcare plan you create.
(Healthcare is not really a choice for a society. The need for healthcare arises out of deep Human needs regarding survival, ease of life, longevity, and, in a way, immortality. No system or policy in the long run will stop the growth of healthcare because Human beings will not tolerate it. Attitudes about profitability will be swept aside, current attitudes against preventative medicine will be smashed. Why? We are dealing with an evolutionary force within our species that will not accept pain, reduced capacity and early death. Once we grasp this evolutionary fact of Human nature, then we will accept the rise in resources, time and energy applied to healthcare. The portion of any economy devoted to healthcare will grow and grow. And this is a good thing because it means the quality of our lives and the quantity of our lives will increase. The problem to solve then is how to keep the overall costs down...)
A Metric Economy or Diverse Economy brings a whole new way of thinking and living. It is the next stage after capitalism though it is not capitalism. It isa system that inherits the best of economic science and methods, and at the same time it has ideals, principles and morals. It has become a system of wisdom, a material wisdom, abstract and yet concrete, enlightened and yet practical, a system and yet against “systems”.
Because such an economy is based upon the simple notion of a metric, it has an infinite variation. Because it is based upon diversity, it always supports individuality and creativity. Because this arrangement has Leagues, all of society is brought together into economic decision making.
But one last point: We must be aware that there are limits on this economy, that metrics themselves have limits. Everything has a limit in the world. These limits in the new economy are about themes that cannot be measured. The world is too diverse to allow measure a universal reign. Against measure is Immeasure, the “unmeasureable”. Many issues are simply beyond measure. We shall find personal issues that transcend measure, spiritual issues that escape measure, intangibles that we cannot begin to measure, values that we will refuse to submit to measure, creative talents that refuse to be contained in a metric...and more. In the gray areas we will explore and argue endlessly.
Where our measure ends we will find other social institutions, for economic institutions are not the whole of society and culture. There are many more organizations and associations in a nation, each is important and serves a purpose. So while a Metric Economy brings society into its web, it does so only upon an economic and metric basis. And much of our behavior and concepts and ideals lie outside of this community. Family, education, government, art, religion, community and more are separate institutions and behaviors.
Thus, one institution strives to be a Diverse, and yet in the end it is too narrow to be a Diverse, it must reckon with a bigger Diverse outside itself. Another way to say this is that we want a manifold world of multiple values, and to have multiple values you must have multiple institutions and multiple powers in a society, not a single institution that monopolize power.
Further, economic measure meets a wall when it buts up against the Individual. The individual has a vast inner Diverse perhaps infinite, and she or he will not submit to a simple and narrow economic metric box.
Thus, this economic thesis has a limit. Limits are important to grasp, for limits delineate different things, they signify differentiation, the end of one thing and the beginning of another thing. The Diverse is composed of many limits.
But the idea here is proposed to not solve all problems but just one problem in the economic sphere. Appreciate it for the power it has in its realm. It can be a very useful tool.
In the present economic crisis, an old tool has proven inadequate to the task. It is outdated; it arose in simpler times when simplistic explanations sufficed, when money, profit, avarice and selfishness all were unquestioned as magical forces and drivers of an economy. They were given an almost divine power of invisible hands that solved all problems and balanced out all things. A part of economics developed a delusion that it was the “whole” of economics, that it is was the “essence” of economics.
We know better now, the future of economics is the Diverse Whole.
Cage Innoye is an American writer. He has these Free Ebooks available: Avatar and the Diverse Whole; The Axxiad; A Dictionary of Creativity; Manifesto for a Vexed Planet; and A Quick Glossary of New Terms and Ideas. Please go to his website: Axxiad News and Ideas