Socioeconomic Democracy and Sustainable Development Socioeconomic Democracy and Sustainable Development


Robley E. George is funder and director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Societies.




Whether viewed from a Normative or Positive perspective, and regardless of whether one is obsessed with Individualistic self-interest or afflicted with global welfare concerns, it is increasingly clear that essentially all the psycho-politico-socio-economic systems of the planet are in pathetic disarray.


By no means implying a universal solution to this planetary problem, it is nevertheless suggested here that Socioeconomic Democracy, a carefully defined and described Transformational Politics, be seriously considered as a significant contribution to the resolution of humanity’s now universally acknowledged, unnecessary and painful predicament.


As John Kenneth Galbraith laconically observed, “The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” Yet conventional views are increasingly being seen and acknowledged to be the root cause of society’s needless and costly pain.


We respectfully desire to introduce you to Socioeconomic Democracy, an advanced socioeconomic system that can and eventually will significantly help to satisfy much of humanity’s legitimate thirst for universal justice, democracy, peace and well being for all.  We hereby commit to being available to you for any assistance, clarification, further general development, and specific application you may desire and request.


The incompatible clamor for reduction of national, state, regional and municipal monetary debt, while insisting upon the provision of increased necessary governmental services for the already rich and hapless poor; the demand for reduced local crime and killings with “cost-saving” and “deficit-reduction” police layoffs, while tolerating/advocating increased global crime and killings with mercenary/military-industrial buildup; the plethora of unearned bonuses of nearsighted Banksters and brutal bludgeoning of necessary Budgets; the crescendo of cries for “unregulated” personal profit possibilities attempting to drown out the chorus seeking safe working conditions in dangerous, life-threatening and life-killing employment; the demand for more jobs, while neglecting the onslaught of economically efficient (and profitable, for whom?) technological advancement; the truly sad yet farcical salary conflicts between private and public sector wage earners, unionized or otherwise, surreptitiously encouraged by the economically comfortable who, equipped with “theoretically justifying Economic Science textbooks” care about the welfare of neither; the increasingly familiar statistic that the “top” 1% of most any population controls more wealth than the “bottom” 90%, serving as a point of pride for a non-thinking citizenry of a laudably self-interested society espousing a contempt for a meaningful minimum wage; the increasing quibble between those who claim raising the retirement age and those who suggest reducing the retirement age can “help solve the lack of jobs” problem, while neither side considers either the advancement in automation or the rape and reduction in natural resources; the purposefully personally profitable neglecting of the impossibility of unlimited growth on a limited planet; so-called “offshoring” of jobs and personal/corporate profits; unconscionable Empires; unconscious politicians; vulture vs. venture capitalism; and on and on, all add to the confusion and deadly conflict of humanity.


Need for Fundamental Change in Socioeconomic Systems


Rio+20 offers at once both a singular opportunity and an absolutely essential turning point toward perhaps the very survival of humanity on the planet Earth. Crucial as this rapidly approaching opportunity is, we must at the same time be prepared to deal with a very wide range of intimately interrelated specific societal and planetary problems. Meaningful sustainability, planetary boundaries and health, environmental limits, social justice, a universal social protection floor, all of humanity’s right to food, water, energy, education, legal redress, pay justice, and freedom from all forms of slavery experienced by the present generation and all future generations are on the agenda and must be acknowledged, addressed and resolutely resolved together. Failure to address or overlook just one problem is guaranteed to leak poison into other seeming solutions to other problems.


These myriad serious problems must be resolved simultaneously and synergistically, addressing head-on the matter of universal economic incentive and justice.


Definition of Socioeconomic Democracy


Socioeconomic Democracy (SeD) is a theoretically consistent and practically implementable socioeconomic system wherein there exist both some form and amount of locally appropriate Universally Guaranteed Personal Income (UGI) and some form and amount of locally appropriate Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth (MAW), with both the lower bound on personal material poverty and the upper bound on personal material wealth set and adjusted democratically by all participants of that democratic society.


Some Beneficial Ramifications of Socioeconomic Democracy


The following intimately interrelated problems which have been shown to be completely resolved or significantly reduced with the realization of Socioeconomic Democracy include (but are by no means limited to) those familiar ones associated with: automation, computerization and robotization; budget deficits and national debts; bureaucracy; maltreatment of children; crime and punishment; development, sustainable or otherwise; ecology, environment, resources and pollution; education; the elderly; farcical “free-market” fantasies; the feminine majority; inflation; international conflict; intranational conflict; involuntary employment; involuntary unemployment; labor strife and strikes; sick medical and health care; military metamorphosis; natural disasters; pay justice; planned obsolescence; political participation; poverty; racism; sexism; untamed technologies; and the General Welfare.