An open space for global conversation
This Conversation Site Is For Sharing and Viewing New Programs
We Could Launch in Our Local Communities!!!
When any of us join in the community of people at one of the Occupy Wall Street tent cities, we immediately begin to recognize what is being called for: not just a democracy based on individual freedom but also a moral democracy, a democracy where the highest priority is the common good up and down and all around. This is why the priority is living it fully there: to prove it is possible. It is to demonstrate that we, the human species, are ready and able to do it.
This bold and clear statement simultaneously occurring at tent cities around the world has obvious ramifications: if we can do it here we can do it anywhere!
The purpose of this Conversation is for people to have a place to share their practical ideas of ways we can bring this to permanent life in our local communities and mainstream society.
That is the logical next step.
The outrage at the injustice to alert all to it is still the priority. We still have many to awaken. But eventually we will also begin creating more attractive alternative options in mainstream society that will have the old models fall away from lack of use in a non-violent transition to moral democratic institutions.
On a personal note, I originally began this Conversation by reporting on a fast (water only with some organic lemon juice squeezed in most glasses) I undertook to prepare myself in many ways to be a healthy and happy participant in this community. I will now only insert here for those who read about my fast here that I ended it after 40 days, experienced healing in my body, lost 35 pounds, garnered much wisdom in my meditations during it, and am now fully involved and ready to joyfully serve the mission of Occupy. You can learn more about it and my ideas at the website of Trusteeship Institute, Inc. of which I am the Chair, www.trusteeship.org.
Allow me to first present what I believe mature human beings throughout history, and in every land, come to define as “moral behavior.” If we can agree on this, I think we will have a good starting point for identifying the kinds of practical organizations we will be creating together.
Moral behavior is when we “freely choose to give priority to the common good.”
What is “the common good” is always an on-going conversation as to the particulars of it. For instance, few thought taking care of the environment was part of the common good before 1950. Now we do.
Immoral behavior, therefore, became defined as giving priority to anything else.
The key word is “priority.”
The wonderful thing about priorities is that, as a result of habits, we can do many things at the same time. Right now you are probably wearing clothes, sitting, using the English language, and comprehending what you are reading…all fully at the same time.
We can also give priority to the common good and accept full responsibility for the actions of our bodies at the same time. Our self-interest does not have to be in conflict with the common good. We can do both fully. Mature human beings freely choose to give priority to the common good while doing both fully. This is what I hear Occupy saying is possible. To say it another way, we are well past the time when polarizing them into capitalism and socialism should both be in the history books.
It is time for freely chosen moral democracy.
By this definition, today nearly all of our major institutions are immoral. Allow me to name just a few examples of practical new organizations we could create to get this conversation going at this site.
Common Good Nation
Geographically defined nations give priority to their citizens, not the good of the planet and all people. This is immoral. Therefore, we need to establish an additional new nation, the Common Good Nation (CGN), not in conflict with but in cooperation with our current geographically defined nations.
It needs to be defined by agreement, not land. This way anyone can join or leave at anytime without moving. To be a moral nation it will give priority to the common good of all, not to its members.
Therefore, its two defining characteristics are these two things: 1) defined by agreement and not by land, and 2) it gives priority to the common good, not the personal interests of its members.
Whatever the geographic nations are doing well enough, we will be grateful they are doing it. CGN will do what we think we can do better than they are doing it; health care might be a current example. Or, we will do something they are not doing that we think would be wise to do, such as providing a job for everyone (see Common Good Fellowships below).
CGN is complementary, not in conflict, with the geographically defined nations. Just as we vote in city, state, and national elections, we will now also vote in CGN.
Common Good Business Association (CGBA)
Corporations give priority to a few, their shareholders. This is immoral. Therefore, we need to create a Common Good Business Association (CGBA).
Only corporations whose board of directors votes to give priority to the common good and second priority to profit can join.
No law needs to be passed for them to do this! It is already clearly assumed that all people and institutions are doing this. The purpose of nearly every law is to encourage this behavior; and if it is made the primary purpose in the business's Articles of Organization, in most states the courts must support it. Where this is not allowed, B Lab, Inc. is getting a new law passed in those states that will allow it.
Large businesses also need to have at least a semi-annual common good audit by an accredited third party just as they have their financial audit done by an accredited third party. They then post it on their website with their comments so all can monitor their behavior.
Since only common good corporations can join CGBA, the public will know who has joined and who hasn’t. They will then be able to easily decide which companies to prefer supporting with their purchases. We could end up with companies seeking to be the first in their product area to join and competing on being creative in actions for the common good. In the Internet world of the 21st Century, where less and less can anything be hidden, they will discover that this moral credibility will add to their bottom line. If this demand for moral democracy continues to expand, which I believe it will, every business of every size will eventually have to join CGBA or be deemed an immoral corporation. The CGBA local chapter will replace the Chamber of Commerce in every city and town, something that is long overdue.
Common Good Fellowships
How about a Common Good Fellowship program to reduce unemployment?
People around the world can create their own job, one that produces a charitable, educational, scientific, or aesthetic service to the community that each can do and wants to do. They recruit three respected people in the community to be their sponsors. Their job is to double-check to be sure the Fellow can do the job chosen and that he or she is doing it each month as agreed. The description of the job, the person, and the sponsors approval of it are posted on the Common Good Job website. The Fellow also commits to report on his or her activities each month by email to all who donated to support him or her. Like Kickstarter for people who want to support the arts, Americans can donate and, in this case, receive a tax deduction for their donation. People from around the world can donate as well only they do not receive a tax deduction.
Now the unemployed can be doing something useful and get paid for it while they look for work. Or they and others might so love the new job in service to the community they created that they keep seeking funding to continuing doing it the rest of their lives. The IRS has recently granted Trusteeship Institute (TI) permission to launch this program on the Internet.
Common Good Trust Fund for Every Baby at Birth
Why shouldn’t every child, like the children of wealthy parents, have at least a small trust fund at birth to assure poverty is never an option the rest of his or her life? There is a way to start something happening in the private sector, that is, without the need of government involvement, to set something in motion that could ultimately result in every baby having a small trust fund begun at birth. Lets call it a Common Good Trust Fund.
I will present a paper on each of the ideas I come up with and I hope you will present a paper on each of the ones you come up with as well. So there will soon be a more comprehensive paper on this idea on this site. However, here are a few of the details so you can see that this is something we could launch.
At birth, family and friends, or a Committee with the task of doing the following at one’s religious organization, place of work, or town, invites family, friends, and others to either donate or lend capital at a low interest rate to create an $11,000 trust for the baby. $10,000 will be a trust for that baby and $1,000 for a poor child overseas. The capital is invested in a diverse group of socially responsible companies. When the year comes that allows all the loans to be paid back plus the interest owed in one payment and still allow $10,000 in the trust, the loans are paid off with one payment.
Each year thereafter 25% of any profits are loaned at a 3% interest rate into a pool to create a beginning trust for another child. This continues every year until the child dies. This is how new trusts are forever being created for new, especially poor, children.
From the age of 20 to the age of 35, 25% of any profit is distributed to the person to be used for any purpose, paid in equal payments over twelve months. From the age of 35 until death, 50% of any annual profit is paid to the person. The same is the case with the distribution to the poor child from the $1,000 trust that has grown.
Upon death, all the capital that remains in the trust is permanently placed in the pool of capital that is loaned to create new trusts for newborn babies.
As you can see, the priority while the recipient of each trust is alive is that child and the second priority is assisting other children. However, upon death the priority of the large growth of capital is the creation of trusts for all children. Thus, eventually, someday, every child will have a trust fund at birth.
The above are examples of four new kinds of morally democratic institutions I believe we can create now. None of them exist. However, I think we can now create them and they will receive widespread support because of the call from Occupy.
I think it is very important for us to remember that moral behavior cannot be legislated. It cannot be forced. It must come from within as a result of maturation. What Occupy is saying is that we are ready to move beyond both capitalism and socialism. We are ready to move beyond giving priority to our self-interests and let the rest be damned or having the state use force for the common good. We are ready for “freely choosing to give priority to the common good.”
What free standing practical new ideas do you have we could possibly launch that are an expression of moral democracy? That will be so attractive that they will naturally and effortlessly replace any existing systems because they are expressions of this more mature way we now know we can choose to be with each other? This is what this Conversation site is for.
Do not be concerned the wildness of your idea!!! If you think it is something that could work because of its attractiveness, please share it here.
A Final Note
We know from the past that there are three main phases to a successful movement: 1) outrage at an injustice that receives significant widespread support, 2) unilateral activities in the private sector that prove the society is ready to accommodate the change which builds wider support, and 3) widespread support for legislation. Many movements express outrage, do not garner enough positive response, and die. Others, like the civil rights, women’s, and environmental movements received a significant positive response because we were ready to mature into righting the injustice. They continue to become integrated into full acceptance with each generation.
At one time killing, stealing, slavery, racial discrimination, and horrible environmental pollution were acceptable behaviors. Today, at least in America, they are not acceptable. The constant has been the maturation of human relationships.
Our Occupy movement has stimulated significant and spontaneous widespread support not only throughout America but also around the world. Polls also reveal well over fifty percent support from nearly every sector.
This reveals that we have identified a maturation we are ready to embrace.
What is that maturation? It is clearly visible in our main chant, “We are the 99%!!!” For 1% to earn so much more than the rest of us is clearly immoral. Our call is for moral institutions that are so attractive that people freely prefer them and the immoral ones fade from view from lack of use. This is the non-violent social maturation being offered. To succeed, we will need to create these new institutions. I hope you will be one of the people who will come up with some good ones and post them here for all to study and, hopefully, begin creating in their local communities.
Terry Mollner can be reached at email@example.com or at 413-256-1331.
Terry with his daughter Stella
A Tale of American as a Family Today
Two daughters got caught in quicksand. One was the 1% Financial-Corporate Community; the other was the other 99%. The parents extended every effort and bore whatever cost to get the first daughter out of the quicksand. You would think she in particular would then join the parents (the lawmakers) to triple their efforts to get her sister out of the quicksand. Instead she turned to her parents and said, “I was able to get myself out of the quicksand by pulling myself up by my own bootstraps; she is not able to do so. To be in integrity with nature we need to let her sink. That is the moral thing to do. Plus, there is this beautiful deck we want to build on the back of the house and these boulders (big debts) are in the way. Since she is going to sink anyway, it makes since to give them to her to get them totally out of sight. After all, it is right and moral to give priority to our self-interest at all times. Proud of their daughter’s profound, accurate, and moral wisdom, they helped her pile all the big boulders into the second daughter’s outreached hands.
I ended the fast after 40 days...a magnificent experience. I will soon be posting more
and I hope you do as well!!!!
I spent yesterday joining in the community at the Boston Occupy site and learned much: their clear priority is modeling not just democracy but a "consensual moral democracy"where the priority does not become yielding to leaders but sustaining giving priority to the common good at all times.
This Conversation site is for people who have practical ideas of ways we can bring this alive in mainstream society. Please add your ideas. We want this to come alive and permanent in the lives of us all on Earth now. The call has gone out: "We are the 99%!!!!" Lets find the ways to have it take permanent and overwhelmingly more powerful and attractive forms in mainstream society so the older forms non-violently fall away from lack of use. Lets build a new, more mature moral democratic and love social, political, and economic life together. They are doing their part; lets do ours!