Democratize economic power

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Pattern: Democratize Economic Power

Part of the Economic Pattern Language

  • AKA: spread the wealth, workplace democracy, decreasing inequality
  • Related: progressive taxation, workplace democracy, labor unions, asset building, living wage
  • Antipatterns: increasing inequality, oligarchy, plutonomy, concentrating power

Contents

Definition

The hypercapitalist system we have today unmistakably concentrates wealth. Since 1980, with government’s help, this tendency has gotten completely out of hand. Unions, progressive taxation, minimum and living wage laws, and employee ownership all have one thing in common: they counteract this concentration by democratizing economic power. The American people are good and tired of being trickled down on! Our nation’s economic policy has been hijacked by a small group of cranks and whiners – who, despite crumbling bridges and disasters like Katrina – are still pushing tax cuts alone as a solution to everything. This approach could not be less suited to the challenges we face today.

The response to this that you’ll often hear is that this amounts to “redistributing wealth.” But this response is based on a faulty understanding of how wealth is created. Wealth is not created by individuals acting alone, much as our popular culture likes to imagine it is. Individual effort plays a role, of course, but it’s always in the context of investments that have come before and the society we are building together. Labor rights in particular are a big part of this. It is impossible to keep workers from organizing without cutting deep into basic 1st amendment rights like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but we’ve seen that big companies have no problem doing exactly that. That has nothing to do with “redistribution,” and it has to stop.

Quotes

"I'm not very interested in income redistribution. I'm interested in getting the distribution right in the first place." -[Kevin Drum] 10/16/2008

Campaigns

   Employee Free Choice Act

Research

Policies

   http://www.livingwagecampaign.org/

Data

Visualizations

Organizations

   ACORN, PICO
   http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/taxes
   (point to orgs on DemDash & use tags there?)

People

Art

Movies

   New in Town
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