Just Reproduction, Production and Consumption

Public interest balance as a duty for companies

What's the problem?

The current measurement of prosperity is the gross domestic product (GDP). The current balance sheet system does not reflect the true wealth of a society, but only measures the material values generated without including the ecological and social consequences and the associated costs, even if these can be calculated. This means that the consequential costs are imposed on all of us, but especially on the → global South and future generations. The goal must be a sustainable economy, that suits the public interest, which particularly  secures the right to an intact basis of life for future generations. On the way to a social, ethical and ecological way of life, we need a new system that measures the economic activity of a company in the public interest.

What's the measure?

Companies are obliged to draw up a public service balance sheet. This could be combined with state-regulated advantages for companies that perform better. The balance sheet should take into account, which ecological and social consequences and their costs are avoided by appropriate economic action and should include these as a measured value.

How can the implementation look like?

The benefits and motives of this measure will be communicated to the public. A draft law on the obligation for a public interest balance sheet is voted on. The law comes into operation. A democratic control body for companies is established, which takes a closer look at the public interest balance sheet. Assistance is made available to companies, e.g. in the very specific search for sustainable production techniques, packaging and transport options. This is done by neutral, non-market-oriented advice centres.

How does this counteract climate change (or how does it create economic framework conditions that support effective climate protection measures)?

Acting for the public interest brings along significant advantages for the environment and an ethical rethinking.

How quickly can the measure be implemented?

Depending on the political will: immediately.

How long does it take for the measure to take effect?

If the accounting procedure is both mandatory and established as an motivational incentive, it can take effect relatively quickly.

References to other measures

Abolition of gross domestic product as an indicator of economic progress, Regulation of the financial market, Strengthening democracy and social participation

Problems of social, global and intergenerational justice

It should always be borne in mind here, that the public interest is meant to be globally and generationally just.

Further literature and sources

  1. International Federation for the Economy for the Common Good e.V.: Gemeinwohl-Matrix (abgerufen am 2.3.2020)
  2. Felber, Christian (2018): Die Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie
  3. GLS Gemeinschaftsbank: Folgekosten: Richtig rechnen (abgerufen am 2.3.2020)
  4. Perspective Daily UG: So geht Wirtschaft, die mehr als nur den Profit im Kopf hat (abgerufen am 2.3.2020) Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie, Christian Felber