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Libertarian and Green Values: Community-based Economics

This is a libertarian perspective on community-based economics.The questions are from a paper on ten key values of the greens.

How can we redesign our work structures to encourage employee ownership and workplace democracy? The improved morale and adaptability of employee owned democratic workplaces gives them a competitive advantage over those with obsolete hierarchical management. Deregulation will amplify this advantage. Redesign of work structures grows more important every day as the international business climate changes. Only the most flexible and responsive businesses will survive in this environment of ever accelerating change. Government regulations freeze and stifle structural change in the workplace, preventing the experimentation and evolution necessary in today's global economy.

How can we develop new economic activities and institutions that will allow us to use our new technologies in ways that are humane, freeing, ecological, and accountable and responsive to communities? Present government policies prevent the development of appropriate new activities and institutions. The evolution of new economic activities and institutions rarely comes from the central authorities but rather from creative individuals and organizations. People everywhere want to use technology in humane, freeing, and ecological ways but they are often prevented by a web of archaic and outdated regulations imposed by the central government and its bureaucrats.

How can we move beyond the narrow "job ethic" to new definitions of "work," "jobs," and "income" that reflect the changing economy? State education and regulations impose these obsolete concepts and obstruct change. New and diverse relationships between people who create their own definitions among themselves of "work", "jobs" and "income" usually must be created in spite of and in opposition to the prevailing legal definitions of these things by such agencies as the IRS.

How can we restructure our patterns of income distribution to reflect the wealth created by those outside the formal, monetary economy: those who take responsibility for parenting, housekeeping, home gardens, community volunteer work, etc.? We can each restructure the distribution of our own income to reward those around us who perform these services. We benefit from our own such efforts in both monetary and nonmonetary ways. People are forced out of (or into) the monetary economy by the IRS and other regulators.

How can we restrict the size and concentrated power of corporations without discouraging superior efficiency or technological innovation? We give them size and power by buying their products. If we don't buy, they don't survive. The advantage of size is amplified in a heavily regulated society since large firms can more easily sustain the additional expense and effort the regulations require. Large corporations can also afford to send lobbyists to Washington to create regulations which suppress smaller and more innovative competing firms. The thousands of small businesses each with their own ideas should be free to compete on an equal footing with the giants. Regulations obstruct them, encouraging the giants and punishing the innovators. Libertarians generally favor strict liability and some feel the limited liability of corporations encourages their irresponsible behavior.