Dog shall not eat dog

Economy for the Common Good
Austria (Vienna)

The phrase ‘dog-eat-dog world‘ was coined in the 19th century with the birth of modern capitalism. As the power looms began to spin for the first time and Britain’s chimneys belched into action, so began the story of an economic model linked to self-interest and competition. Economy for the Common Good (ECG) is on a mission to change that story.

Author, lecturer and part-time contemporary dancer, Christian Felber has founded a new economic model based on the idea that the wellbeing of people, rather than growth, should be our ultimate goal. The ECG Balance Sheet was created for companies to be externally evaluated on a number of key targets; how cooperative they are with other companies, whether their products and services satisfy human needs, and how humane their working conditions are. There are minus points for violating labour standards, pollution, unequal pay for women and using tax havens. Once a company has been evaluated they receive a ‘common good’ score which is published and shows their commitment to sustainability and democracy.

Active in Germany, Austria, Northern Italy, Switzerland and Spain, in just four years the scheme has attracted over 1,900 companies as well as 8,000 supporters of the idea itself. Still relatively small, the movement has an impressive community, forging links with banks, companies and consumers. Though critics have called it idealistic and utopian in its scope, the scheme might have the power to realign how we think about capitalism and perhaps, in the process, level out inequalities. Though moving the goalposts on capitalism this late in the game may seem like a lost cause, there could still be everything to play for.

Written by

Lauren Burrows, Researcher, Atlas of the Future (14 December 2015)

Project leader

Christian Felber, Founder

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