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The Economy for the Common Good – an economic model with a future – is both an idea and a movement that wishes, through a democratic, participatory and open-ended process, to establish an economic system in which the common good has the highest priority. Money and economy should be the means to an end rather than ends in themselves.

Underlying values:

  • Human dignity

  • Solidarity

  • Participation and transparency

  • Social justice

  • Ecological sustainability

Guiding principles:

  • The Economy for the Common Good (ECG) strives towards an ethical market economy designed to increase the quality of life for all and not to increase the wealth of a few.

  • The ECG helps promote the values of human dignity, human rights and ecological responsibility into day-to-day business practice.

  • The Common Good Matrix indicates to what extent these values are put into practice in a company. The Matrix is being continually improved upon in an open, democratic process.

  • The Matrix provides the basis for companies to create a Common Good Balance Sheet. The Common Good Report then describes how a company has implemented these universal values and looks at areas in need of improvement. The report and the balance sheet are externally audited and then published. As a result, a company’s contribution to the Common Good is made available to the public and all stakeholders.

  • Common Good companies benefit in the marketplace through consumer choice, cooperation partners and common-good-oriented lending institutions.

  • To offset higher costs resulting from ethical, social and ecological activities, Common Good companies should benefit from tax breaks, easier bank loans, public grants and contracts.

  • Business profits serve to strengthen and stabilize a company and to ensure the income of owners and employees over the long term. Profits should not, however, serve the interests of external investors. This allows entrepreneurs more flexibility to work for the Common Good and frees them from the pressure of maximizing the return on investment.

  • Another result is that companies are no longer forced to expand and grow. This opens up a myriad of new opportunities to design businesses to improve the quality of life and help safeguard the natural world. Mutual appreciation, fairness, creativity and cooperation can thrive better in such a working environment.

  • Reducing income inequality is mandatory in order to assure everyone equal economic and political opportunities.

  • The Economy for the Common Good movement invites you to take part in recreating an economy based on these values. All our ideas about creating an ethical and sustainable economic order are developed in an open, democratic process, voted upon by the people and enshrined in our constitutions.

The strategy:

At the societal level, the movement for an economy for the common good is an initiative for changing consciousness for systemic change based on mutual, respectful action by as many people as possible. The movement gives people hope and courage and seeks to network and cross-fertilise with other alternative initiatives.

At the political level, the movement for an economy for the common good seeks to achieve legal changes. The goal of engagement is a good life for all living beings and the planet, supported by an economic system oriented towards the common good. Human dignity, global fairness and solidarity, ecological sustainability, social justice and democratic participation are the most essential elements in this process. The necessary changes should be introduced ‘bottom up’ through economic conventions.

At the economic level, the economy for the common good is an alternative that can be experienced and practically implemented by companies of various sizes and legal status. The purpose of economic activity and the assessment of a company’s success are defined by using common good oriented values. In the Common Good Balance Sheet seventeen separate indicators are allocated to the core values in order to capture, evaluate and compare the common good orientation of companies, individuals and communities. The results are checked and presented by external auditors in the form of a detailed Common Good Report and the Common Good Balance Sheet, which summarises the results of the report in the form of a Common Good Matrix on one page.

The idea of the common good economy promises economic benefits for organizations and firms with a Common Good Balance through for example:

  • Tax relief

  • Better loan conditions e.g. from the specially created Bank für Gemeinwohl (Bank for the Common Good) and other ethical and ecological banks
  • Passing on of price advantages in the Association for Common Good Enterprises.

The Currency for the Common Good:

Within the Common Good movement there are ongoing discussions about establishing its own ‘common good currency‘. The Common Good Currency Company was established and officially confirmed by the general assembly on 5 April 2014. Contact person: Roland Wiedemeyer.

History of the idea:

The idea of the Common Good Economy goes back to the year 2001, when Joachim Sikora and Günter Hoffmann proposed the “vision of an economy for the common good” based on a regional currency with a circulation incentive, a performance-based citizens’ income and land reform. In the last chapter of his 2008 book “Neue Werte für die Wirtschaft” (New Values for the Economy) Christian Felber drew a rough sketch for a new economic order. About a dozen entrepreneurs were attracted by the idea and offered to help the author refine the rough sketch and get involved in its implementation. The group pondered over the model for nearly two years until the first ‘energy field’ (working group) was started in May 2010 and in August 2010 the Economy for the Common Good was born. A not-for-profit association was founded in 2011. More on the history here.