Category Archives: Ethical Finance

Economy for the Common Good in a nutshell

A very feasible model, indeed

Economy for the Common Good is far more practical and feasible than its somewhat utopian name may suggest. It is not about building castles in the air, it is a really well thought out and down-to-Earth model. Short and plain:
Do you want to produce goods and services flouting labour rights or polluting our planet? No problem: go ahead.
Do you want to sell your products or services in our market, too? All right, just do it.
Just one thing: we will tax your products 20 times higher than any other respectful products, so yours will be way more expensive on the market. Besides by means of a code (similar to a colour barcode), consumers will be able to see at a glance to what extent each product respects a series of ethical and environmental principles.
Isn’t your company transparent? Well, you can’t sell your products or services on our market. Sorry, mate!
Thus, if you want to make a profit, you will necessarily increase the common good in the process.
Result: if these are the new rules of the game, any entrepreneur, no matter how unscrupulous they are, will be willing to comply with the new legal framework so that their products and services are competitive on the market. It is a system that rewards the good businessperson and punishes predators, with the aim of benefiting the whole community. You can get rich, of course, but the only way to achieve it is by making a positive contribution. Economy for the Common Good calls for reevaluating economic relations by, for example, putting limits on financial speculation and encouraging companies to produce socially-responsible products.
So Economy of the Common Good is about changing the rules of the game, not the entire system. It is feasible because it only depends on political will.

So, at the end of the day, It is a model that juggles the legitimate aspiration to prosper and environmental awareness around to fit all human needs in. Furthermore, both liberals and left-wingers could agree upon such principles. How good can you have it?

Yanis Varoufakis on Universal Basic Income

Guaranteed Minimum Income, Universal Basic Income and Universal Basic Dividend

In the midst of the worst global pandemic since the 1918 flu — inappropriately named Spanish flu, since it didn’t originate in Spain—  some countries such as the USA are implementing economic emergency measures or, if you like, actions, to prevent millions of citizens from going bankrupt. In a sense, it could be argued that it is similar to a Guaranteed Minimum Income.

Meanwhile, the European Union, to put it mildly, doesn’t cut the mustard and is disappointing everybody once again: uncoordinated, lacking in solidarity, aimless, drifting… In one word: lame.

It is in this context that we should listen to the ones that got it right during the last financial crisis; people like Yanis Varoufakis, an eminent Greek economist, academic, philosopher and politician.

But before going into further details, we should know what we are talking about. First of all, we must distinguish between the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) and the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Afterwards we can tackle the Universal Basic Dividend brought forward by Professor Varoufakis.

Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI), also called minimum income, is a system of social welfare provision that guarantees that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions. Eligibility is typically determined by the following: citizenship, a means test, and either availability for the labor market or a willingness to perform community services. The primary goal of a guaranteed minimum income is to reduce poverty. If citizenship is the only requirement, the system turns into a universal basic income.

On the other hand, Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a model for providing all citizens with a given sum of money, regardless of their income, resources or employment status. The purpose of the UBI is to prevent or reduce poverty and increase equality among citizens.

That said, let’s pay close attention to what Professor Varoufakis has to say:

So, according to the renowned economist, the Universal Basic Income shouldn’t come from taxation, since it might become a source of conflicts within the working class. He points out that nowadays capital is socially produced, so he brings forward the idea of a Universal Basic Dividend where a percentage of shares of all companies should go to a public equity trust that works as a wealth fund for society. The dividends should be distributed to every member of society equally, so the income comes from return of capital, not from taxation.

Contrary to what many may think, Varoufakis is for a global governance. He is not against free trade, but he stresses that it should be accompanied by binding rules in order to avoid social dumping.

One thing is for sure: something must be done, asap. Countries can’t just let their people and SMEs go bankrupt overnight. We might be about to face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and this pandemic and its consequent lockdown could take a while. Util we don’t have a vaccine, what can’t be cured, must be endured, and unprecedented economic measures must be put into effect. A more egalitarian society fits everyone, since it means a more stable, safe, human and prosperous society. For once, let’s be smart. We are in this crisis together and we will come out of it together. There is no other way.

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Wörgl: the miracle of a local currency

The Miracle of Wörgl

Legend has it that in the midst of the Great  Depression, the mayor of the city of Wörgl, in Austria, issued a new currency… which depreciated every month by 1% due to the so-called rate of oxidation! That currency was a “Certified Compensation Bill”, a form of local currency best known by Stamp Scrip, or Freigeld.

What followed was wonderful: the currency got into circulation, unemployed people got back to work, local businesses reopened, and in order to avoid losing money a high percentage of citizens spent the currency very fast, local government projects could be all completed … The implementation of the currency resulted in a growth of employment and prosperity, creating a virtuous circle. More surprisingly, inflation and deflation were not detected during the experiment…. Believe it or not, it all happened during the worst economic crisis of the century!

The Wörgl currency was an application of the monetary theories of the economist Silvio Gesell by the town’s then-mayor, Michael Unterguggenberger

Legend has it that in order to reverse the crisis, other cities tried to replicate the Wörgl model, but the National Bank of Austria decided to terminate the experiment on September 1, 1933.

Oracle has it that someday, a developer will find the code that will make the worldwide issue of a Wörgl-like digital currency possible. This day will change economy as we know it, forever. It will mean a complete turnabout. Just imagine a currency that rewards you —or can even make you rich— for spending it quickly! (see the last paragraph of this post).

Wörgl currency

A significant problem about cryptos is that holders prefer to keep them as a store of value in the hope that their price will eventually increase.  As a result, they are not brought into circulation to conduct transactions between consumers and businesses. Whereas it is true that potential buyers wouldn’t find a depreciating crypto particularly  appealing, it is also true that an additional reward for spending it quickly —e.g., the quicker you spend it the highest refund you get— could solve the question.

To be honest, I’ve actually published this post as if it were a message in a bottle. Maybe someone will be able to put the puzzle together and come up with a fundamentally different crypto based on the Wörgl experiment. I really think it would make a difference.

PS: It is necessary to modify the source code of a suitable crypto (or else create a new Blockchain from scratch incorporating a rate of oxidation ) so that the resulting currency both depreciates each month and offers an added incentive to encourage people to spend it. An extra motivation for those who spend it faster could be to participate in a daily lottery or raffle, so that you could actually win a small fortune every day by spending  your currency quickly! Such process could be automated through a Smart Contract. Please, share. We need to find that coder 😉

For further information visit Coinsweekly

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Marcel Solé

Human rights for Syrian refugees

Human Rights
syrian refugees

Although this post has not very much to do with translation (but in fact it has) or financie (but, again, in fact it has), today I would like to raise the matter of respect for human rights as a basic and fundamental principle of the European Communities. As complicated and overwhelming as this migratory wave may be, we must not forget that they are scared, tired, vulnerable human beings.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Artcle 14: (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution

Article 25: (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

Help finance childhood cancer research

Seguiremos – Hospital Sant Joan de Déu y Macaco

We will go on – Sant Joan de Déu Hospital and Macaco

Make a donation in http://www.amicssantjoandedeu.org/es/… if you want to make a donation for childhood cancer research (check HOSPITAL QUE INVESTIGA)
Children in the Oncology floor in Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, and the professionals and volunteers who accompany them in the center, sing along with Macaco the song “Seguiremos” (We’ll keep going), a message of hope to raise awareness of the importance of research in the fight against childhood cancer.
Haz tu donativo en http://www.amicssantjoandedeu.org/es/… si quieres financiar la investigación del cáncer infantil (selecciona HOSPITAL QUE INVESTIGA).
Los niños y niñas de la planta de Oncología del Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, y los profesionales y voluntarios que les acompañan en el centro, cantan junto a Macaco la canción “Seguiremos”, un mensaje de esperanza para concienciar sobre la importancia de la investigación en la lucha contra el cáncer infantil.