economy/ (ɪˈkɒnəmɪ) /
noun plural -mies
- Careful management of resources to avoid unnecessary expenditure or waste; thrift
- A means or instance of this; saving
- sparing, restrained, or efficient use, esp to achieve the maximum effect for the minimum effort: economy of language
- The complex of human activities concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services
- A particular type or branch of such production, distribution, and consumptiona socialist economy; an agricultural economy
- The management of the resources, finances, income, and expenditure of a community, business enterprise, etc
So what’s missing from this definition? The actual PURPOSE for an economy. WHY do we do this?
Our current “economy” is centered around capitalism – the accumulation of capital (money/wealth). And in a world based around capitalism, that end purpose is, for some folks, to amass more wealth than other folks, at any cost. This causes them to do many things that are not healthy or wise, from the perspective of humanity.
Financial advisors tell us to set aside part of our earnings to be used in an emergency, yet so few people can afford to do this; one reason being that capitalism works very hard to suck every dollar out of your wallet. Every month there is someone trying to get into your wallet for many reasons, all of which are driven by capitalism.
There is no requirement for a business to put aside a portion of their earnings as an “emergency fund”, to help them through the lean times; even though the lives of their employees depend on the ability to earn money, to buy the necessities in life. Would a shareholder accept a smaller dividend this month knowing that the excess would be utilized the following month? Of course not; they take the larger dividend NOW, then scramble their employees the following month to somehow meet their financial objectives. And if those financial objectives are not met, and the business can not sustain through a tough time, the business is closed and the employees are now unemployed. Unemployed people can’t afford to buy the goods & services that they need to sustain the life style they have created and in many cases, life itself. Capitalism includes this boom/bust cycle as part of “just doing business”, but it’s HUGE problem from the perspective of a humanitarian.
Is THIS the only way we can run a country? Of course not!
So how else can we run a country? Let’s look at definitions #1 & 4 above – “Careful management of resources” and “human activities“. Wouldn’t it make sense to manage the Earth’s resources in such a manner that EVERY person has at least the basic resources that they need? The United States Declaration of Independence states “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as unalienable rights, meaning that everyone was entitled to them. So let’s look at the first one – “Life“, what exactly is needed to maintain life for all humans? Self-sufficiency standards are calculated differently from the federal poverty level but both try to define exactly what is needed to sustain a basic life – food (including water), shelter, clothing, sanitation, education, and healthcare. I’m NOT advocating that everyone has a Ferrari in their free mansion; this list is what’s needed just to get by. Shouldn’t all the hard work & effort that we (people) do in the good times help take care of us in tough times? Hell, even squirrels are smart enough to put nuts away for the coming winter!
So how could we run a country and provide these basic necessities? Duh….. a RESOURCE BASED ECONOMY comes to mind! But many folks are not willing to even consider this idea, mostly because they are the ones profiteering from capitalism….