Common Welfare Balance

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URL = http://www.common-welfare-economy.org

Description

'The pursuit of common welfare will not only become the new legal goal of all (private) business, but also the new meaning of entrepreneurial success. The CWE places the human being and all living entities as well as fulfilling interpersonal relationships at the center of economic activity. It transposes standards that bolster human relationships as well as constitutional values to an economic context, rewarding economic stakeholders for acting in a humane, cooperative, ecologically sound, and democratic way; as well as for demonstrating solidarity. A new key balance sheet complementing the traditional balance sheet based on financial data and figures will therefore be established in order to measure the success of every company: the Common Welfare Balance. Instead of measuring success in monetary terms, it employs indicators that measure the contribution of a business to the common welfare. “Common welfare” as well as the set of values and indicators measuring a company’s success will be defined in a broad democratic process. Actively engaged entrepreneurs have already adopted five core values that embody the key elements of the common welfare economy, and should be measured. These values are human dignity, solidarity, ecological sustainability, social justice, and democracy. A company that complies with these values must not only uphold them, but will also pass them on to stakeholders: employees, owners, customers and clients, business partners, suppliers, the regional population, state leaders, future generations, and the environment.

The Common Welfare Matrix (a simplified chart of the Common Welfare Balance Sheet) crosses the five values with the stakeholders of a company. The Common Welfare Criteria in the cross-sections are measurable and attached a certain value: the Common Welfare Points. The sum of all Points provides the Common Welfare Score, at a maximum of 1000 Common Welfare Points. There is also a maximum of 200 points for each of the five value categories. Because all values are considered equally important, neglecting one of them cannot be compensated by points in another value category. An electronic calculation program is used to facilitate processing and to check weighting in the Balance. Knock-out Criteria punish extremely harmful acts to common welfare that are still legal. Companies exercising hostile takeovers, generating electricity by nuclear power, genetically modifying seeds or constructing large-scale power plants in ecologically sensitive regions receive zero points in a whole category of values, regardless of other achievements in this category. Those achievements will still be indicated, but not rewarded.

The Common Welfare Points are awarded exclusively for measurable Common Welfare Criteria, and companies can decide which criteria they will accept, and to what extent. This means that points are awarded only for accepted standards that exceed those set by law. The purpose is as follows: Today, most companies are far from the common welfare ideal (best possible environmental protection, co-determination of staff and other stakeholders, justly distributed income, gender equality). Theoretically, corresponding minimum standards could be formulated in order to oblige companies’ to behave ideally. However, companies' self-interest (egoism) drives them to fight increases in legally binding standards with all their power. Keep higher standards voluntary while legally rewarding those companies that achieve them (tax incentives, customs duties, interest rates, public contracts, etc) could change this. In this manner, more and more companies would begin to promote this gentle political redirection of entrepreneurial aspiration towards common welfare. The Common Welfare Balance can initiate a process that guides companies from their current state to the target state in accordance with market conditions. The Common Welfare Balance serves as the catalyst in this process: The more companies apply Common Welfare Criteria, approach, and reach the Common Welfare Goals, the more plausible it will become to translate criteria from the Common Welfare Balance into legal minimum standards, thus making room for newer and stricter voluntary Common Welfare Criteria. In this way, the whole entrepreneurial landscape would move towards common welfare, and those companies that keep the “old” set of values would eventually run the risk of going bankrupt!" (http://www.economia-del-bien-comun.org/)


Discussion

THE COMMON WELFARE AUDIT

"Who controls the Common Welfare Balances, and how? When the whole process is fully realized, a new profession will be required to carry out the task: the Common Welfare Auditor – equivalent to the auditors who presently check financial balances. At the outset, the Balance Sheet is generated and reviewed by companies internally (controlling, internal revision). Afterwards, it is submitted to Common Welfare Audit, where the verification and attestation take place. Only then does the Balance become valid and effective.


In comparison with the financial balance, a Common Welfare Balances offers many advantages:

-­‐ It is public and accessible to all.

-­‐ It is easily comprehensible, with simple, humane, value-oriented criteria.

-­‐ There are many stakeholders with a vested interest in its accuracy.

-­‐ Common Welfare Licenses of auditors who approve fraudulent Common Welfare. Balance Sheets will be revoked immediately, minimizing the potential for fraud and corruption.

-­‐ Companies are motivated to achieve the best possible Common Welfare Score with numerous legal incentives.

The entire process operates on a voluntary basis, removing the need for a board of examiners and excess bureaucracy. The Common Welfare Balance guides the behavior of companies without creating the need for additional regulation requirements.

Similar to the separation of the consulting business and the examination of financial data, the Common Welfare Consulting and Auditing is divided by law.

During the initial phase (2011), “pioneer companies” that voluntarily generate the Common Welfare Balance assess one another. In the event that they achieve a total of more than 600 points, they are subsequently assessed by a member of the “Platform Common Welfare Consultants”.

It is also likely that, due to the complexity of the subject matter, audit teams will eventually be established to replace individual auditors. Audit teams would include experts from different areas in order to handle complex matters with increased security and efficacy." (http://www.economia-del-bien-comun.org/)



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