Money is just a promise. It’s a social construct, it’s something we make up. If banks can lend us money, it’s not because they have that money. It’s because we, the people, have given them the right to make up money. Well, if that is the situation, we have given them the right to make up money because we think it will help people have houses, it will help the economy grow. The economy isn’t growing, people don’t have houses, something went wrong. We can change that around because it really comes from us to begin with, so I think if democracy is to mean anything, it has to mean that everybody can weigh in on that process of deciding what kind of promises we make and what kind of promises we readjust when we have to do that.
— David Graeber, in Debt: the first 5000 years (2011)4
There are decisions made every day that change our lives – some we make individually, some we make as a society through our government. So our ability to make decisions is critical. Democracy is the best way we know to make public decisions.
Decision-making and conflict resolution are building blocks of commu- nity. When the tools and skills are lousy, so are the outcomes. With common wealth money we shift from a dominator, might-makes-right, win-lose, wealth rules, model of decision-making. We shift to an issue- based, respectful, transparent, inclusive participation, win-win kind of decision-making and problem-solving. With this better method, we will get better decisions.
We call ourselves, The United States of America because we value a partnership model of decision-making that includes all stakeholders. Commonwealth money brings our values into alignment with our politi- cal and economic practices. Best of all, commonwealth money promotes independence, diversity and a well-informed citizenry. These are the attributes required for good decision-making.
Again, the best decision-making and the best problem solving are done by a diverse group of independent and informed thinkers. I recommend as highly as I can, the book, The Wisdom of Crowds by James Suroweicki (2005). It presents a cogent and well-researched thesis on how best deci- sions are made. It explains why a government that is effectively, of, by and for ALL the people is the best form of government; it won’t always make the right decision, but it has the best chance of making the best possible decision all of the time. And, it makes it easier to correct course when mistakes are made. (I’m speaking of the kinds of decisions that take some time to make. There are times when a decision needs to be made very quickly, and a group decision is not appropriate. However, political decisions nearly always allow time for more thought, fact-find- ing and discussion.)
With common wealth money, our lives will no longer be manipulated by a powerful and wealthy few. We will have more choice and be able to make more independent decisions for ourselves and our families. We will develop richer independent perspectives, and this will be good for the nation.
We can afford to invest in excellent public education and remove the paid propaganda curriculums inserted by special interests. Better educated and better informed citizens will make better decisions.
We can afford to invest in a diverse and independent media that is not dependent on advertising or donation dollars. Spending money into circulation by supporting a robust and diverse system of national report- ing would create jobs, strengthen civic engagement and generate more interest in being informed.
Humans are naturally diverse. We are independent beings, each with a unique background, education, culture, beliefs. This natural diversity when allowed to flourish will strengthen our nation. Naturally, we are going to disagree. Conflict is inevitable. But we are more likely to be fear-free, respectful, collaborative, and creative in the face of conflict when our families’ lives are not on the line.
Removing the power of big money to interfere with conflict resolu- tion will improve outcomes. We can resolve conflicts based on the issues, instead of according to which stakeholder has the power to force their choice.
Better political choices
Politics doesn’t have to be corrupt and dirty. Commonwealth money puts power where our Constitution intended: with the duly elected representatives of the people. We can elect capable people who will genuinely serve their states or their districts. Healthy and effective poli- tics will then be possible. Because our representatives will be elected by their communities, instead of chosen by the money power, they will be more diverse. And, this is good for decision-making.
Better investment choices
There are a lot of great ideas out there for building business, creating jobs, making profits and maintaining a healthy, sustainable nation. A level economic playing field and broader prosperity will significantly increase the number of individuals who have money to invest. More investors making choices will mean more productive outcomes.
Many of the most productive innovations of the 20th century came out of government funded long-term R&D which is often beyond the means of individual investors. We can afford to do this again.
Who rules best? – an evolving concept
“All men are created equal” and we are all due a “separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle” us.
The US made a commitment to equal station in our Declaration of Independence. Our founding fathers did their best, within the confines of their time and place in history, to embody this belief in our Constitution. However, they failed to appreciate the importance of the money creation power to the outcome of their goals. Several founders in later life, including Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine, came to appre- ciate the giant loophole they’d left in their intentions. We have not had a truly level playing field since we the people gave away the power to create our nation’s money to an elite group of bankers.
It is important to note there are still many people in the United States who do not share a love of equal justice and democratic decision-making. Some people still believe if you have money, you should have a greater say in how our nation is run. It is time we discuss what values we want our nation’s laws and money system to reflect.
Some do not understand effective democratic decision-making and mistakenly equate democracy with a tyranny of the majority. Yes, major- ity rule is an early form of democratic decision-making. And, it can be a tug-of-war between opposing interests who expect a win-lose solution. How many times have you heard the trope about democracy being two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner? Most people using this descriptor are arguing for one wolf and one hundred sheep deciding what’s for dinner (our current system).
We have all the tools and skills to take our democratic public decision-mak- ing to a higher level. An early guide to issue-based decision-making, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury, has been on best seller lists since it first came out in 1981 – almost forty years ago!5 Millions of copies have sold and it’s been translated into 36 languages. There must be many people out there with good skills in win-win negotiation. And most of us understand that the way we currently make public decisions is not working well for us.
We must clean up our decision-making process and shift it from crony- ism and compromise TO issue-based negotiation that considers the interests of all stakeholders. We know how to do this. Without the pres- sures from a corrupt and profit-driven, growth mandating money system, we will have the opportunity. We just have to have the determination.