I believe no economic system is sustainable unless it accommodates the ecosystems on which it depends. Our current system – based on the notion of perpetual economic expansion on a finite planet – is seriously flawed. We urgently need to apply human ingenuity to the goal of using far less from nature to meet our needs, which is a different goal from exploiting nature and Third World people so that we can meet the invented and implanted false “needs” that advertisers continually push at us in a grow-or-die type of economy. We need to acquire the ability to distinguish between need and greed, in spite of what the media assure us we “need.” We also need to restore a progressive tax structure, rather than continuing to move money toward the top echelons of society while squeezing everyone else. Such a restoration, plus the end to the bankrupting military adventurism and imperial designs, would significantly reduce the huge federal deficit that has been imposed on the American people since 2000.
I believe that the only model of true economic security is for a community and area to be largely (not entirely) self-sufficient in the production of its necessities. Through foreign trade, they can then export that which is extra, and that which they could afford to lose should environmental disasters, social unrest in their trading partners’ countries, or other disruptions disturb the flow of their trade.
support not the corporate dominance of “free trade” – which, through the machinations of the World Trade Organization places the desires of transnational corporations above the level of national laws – but true “fair trade,” which protects communities, labor, and the environment. Community-based economics and regional trade keep money circulating largely in the community and the region, rather than going to distant corporate headquarters as soon as a purchase is made. This is the most rational model for economic security. It includes family farms and community-supported agriculture, farmers’ markets, credit unions, nonprofit community-development corporations, incubator programs to aid start-up small businesses, apprenticeship programs in local businesses, local currency, community-focused banks, and trade with adjacent regions. Consumers in this type of market economy prefer to patronize locally owned businesses because each purchase has a positive rippling effect in the community. Unlike other political parties in the modern era, the Green Party views (even community-based) economics not as an end in itself but as a service to community development through the building and strengthening of community bonds that constitute the social fabric.
We can learn from indigenous people who believe that the Earth and its natural systems are to be respected and cared for in accordance with ecological principles. Concepts of ownership should be employed in the context of stewardship, and social and ecological responsibility. We support environmental and social responsibility in all businesses, whether privately or publicly owned.