Eco-social market economy – Paradigm shift for a sustainable civilisation
If we want to survive as the human race on this planet, we still need to make the switch from the current profit-driven “robber economy” based on the exploitation of fossil energies and limited raw materials to a “civilisation of sustainability” fed by solar energy sources within the course of this century, which in the long term creates a balance between the demands of humans and the potential of nature.
The deciding factor for this is offered by the eco- and socio-political model from the eco-social market economy. Its essential feature is a permanent balance between an efficient economy, social solidarity and ecological sustainability – embedded in the respective culture and way of life, in fact.
An efficient economy requires the best possible conditions in education, training and further education, research and development. Entrepreneurial spirit and innovation must be encouraged by a performance-oriented tax system as well as the elimination of unnecessary bureaucratic barriers.
Social solidarity requires a forward-looking and sustainable financing of the pension, welfare and health system. Furthermore, the acceleration of the precautionary principle, a healthy lifestyle as well as a sensible balance between state institutions, private initiatives and the support of families with education and childcare are all vital.
Ecological sustainability is ultimately at the heart of an eco-social market economy.
Five factors are decisive in the model of the eco-social market economy for the implementation of sustainability and thus the protection of our habitat for subsequent generations:
1. Ecological true-cost pricing! Prices must reflect the value of their nature.
2. Strict Polluter Pays Principle – worldwide! Those who harm the environment and waste resources must pay for it. This makes it possible for us to create viable economies for the future.
3. Taxes, duties and subsidies must reward those in favour of the environment and must not – as is the case now – artificially extend the age of fossil fuels.
4. Clear product declarations und precise information! The consumer must know what he is buying.
5. Creating awareness and providing information – starting at nursery and school right through to worldwide campaigns.
Eco-social market economy on every level!
An eco-social market economy is not only a way to challenge policy; it concerns every single one of us and our individual responsibility! Consequently, we can derive various levels of implementation.
1. Personal lifestyle:
Consumer behaviour, living, energy, mobility!
This is measured by our carbon footprint.
2. Eco-social market economy in companies:
European corporate culture; reliable quality; motivation to take own responsibility and encourage innovation; positive working atmosphere; energy- and resource-friendly production; circulation principle.
Europe’s competitiveness is not based on low energy and CO2 prices but rather on innovation and research-intensive products in environmentally-friendly technologies and the “green economy”.
3. Eco-social market economy in the community:
An essential focus area!
Regional development, planning schemes, short links, environmentally-friendly mobility, reinforcement of regional economic cycles.
4. Eco-social market economy in state, country and EU:
These are the traditional levels for designing the correct political framework for sustainable economies.
5. Global economic market economy:
Reform by UNO, World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund and World Bank by integrating effective ecological, social and democratic standards.
Clear regulations for financial markets; global financial transaction tax, prevention of tax evasion and destructive speculation; balance between rich and poor.
Creative policy or company dictatorship?
Policy must regain its creative force in a globalised economy!
This can only happen if we work together!
If states and governments play off against each other, it will end in disaster.
So the crucial question is: “Who decides the rules of the game?
Josef Riegler 2014)