The world is in desperate search of new economic structures. This website explores ideas about a new economy. This project focuses on ways to distribute the work equally among the population. This means that all workers work - as far as possible - the same number of hours, so unemployment is minimized. This single goal is not enough to achieve a better economy. So additional goals are emerging. Think about attempting to discover the genuine value of goods, or to assign a value to products in a way that leads to stable prices. This provides an opportunity to pay for all work fairly.
The first objective of the Better Economy Research Project (BERP) is to develop a scheduling system, in which each individual in a population works the same amount of time. The main objective is to evade unemployment. The desires of the indivuals in the population, their expertise and competencies, and how these desires can be fulfilled are the principal input for the scheduling system. The system calculates what desires can be fulfilled, and produces a schedule where work to be performed is equally distributed among members of the population. Children, sick and elderly people are exempt from work.
A second goal is to identify the wishes that are necessary to live a normal life, and what wishes should be regarded as luxury. The scheduling program calculates a schedule, within which all the goals for living a modest happy life will be achieved. All wishes which are considered luxury are fulfilled when there is enough time to produce the luxury products. This will lead to a debate on what might be available wealth.
A third goal consists in determining the value of goods and services. The value of the goods and services required to remain alive and to live a normal life should be in line with the amount of time needed to create the goods and services and to tidy up the dirt and waste. The same applies to luxury goods. But what about valuable works of art in galleries, what about monuments and landmarks?
A fourth goal is to determine the reward for doing the work. Everybody should be able to live a decent life, but are competence, expert knowledge and responsibility reasons for a higher remuneration? What should be a reasonable maximum difference between the lowest and the highest earnings?
The fifth goal is to analyze what to do when technology changes. If someone finds a way to produce a product in half of the time, the work is redistributed among the members of the population. They all work less. As the value of a product is associated with the time it takes to produce the product, the value of several products will change. During a certain period identical products with different production processes and different values are in circulation.
The sixth goal is to make the production process circular. All output of the production process should be input to another production process, or be a natural product that causes no pollution.
The seventh goal is to gain efficiency in production methods and administrative procedures. This can be done by re-evaluating production methods and by simplifying processes and keeping administrative procedures to an attainable minimum. The project aims at reducing the working time for every member of the population.
The eighth goal is to check that the circular economy goes on forever, that there will always be enough products that can act as input for the processes that create the requested products.
The ninth goal is to find the criteria to check if efficiency was well implemented, guaranteeing freedom and righteousness. As part of this quest we are trying to find procedures that ensure that the supply in stores and other outlets is consistent with people's needs and wishes, and in accordance with the public interest.
Cooperations often take the form of one ore more organizations. The members of an organization communicate in a shared language and the different skills of the members enable the organization to perform a certain task. Organizations come into existence and disappear depending on personal initiatives or forced by technical change. A tenth goal is to determine the best way the work can be assigned to different organizations and how can cooperate within an economy based on the principles of the Better Economy Research Project (BERP).An eleventh goal is analyzing what organizations are too important or too big to fail and what measures must be taken to avoid a collapse of the economy.
A twelfth goal is to analyze the power of big organizations. In a capitalistic society big organizations are considered to powerful. From history the Rockefeller imperium and the AT&T company are well known. Those organizations were forced to split up into smaller organizations. But there remains a tendency to form large organizations, like multinationals, joint ventures, consortiums or cartels. The unfair influence of their lobbying activities is well known. This research project is looking for ways to avoid misuse of power and to prevent organizations from becoming criminal.
A next goal is to analyze how an organization using the principles resulting from the Better Economy Research Project can operate in a society where money is used. Internally such an organization takes stock of the wishes of their members and there clients, checks if it is possible to fulfill those wishes within the organization. The work to do is equally devided among the members, Everybody who is able to work is supposed to work an equal amount of hours to achieve that the wishes are fulfilled. Goods and services are valued according to the time it costs to provide them. Externally the organization functions like a normal enterprise. Goods and services are valued according to the quirks of the financial markets. The organization has the same obligation and responsibilities as any other organization in the countries where it is operating.
Maybe some organizations will want to experiment with the results of this project in the real world. A last goal is to monitor those experiments.
Until now the goals of the Better Economy Research Project are a dream. But dreams can come true. Maybe some people want to put the ideas of the Better Economy Research Project into practice. I think of people who are unemployed involuntarily and and who are seeking ways to spend their time as beneficial as can be and who to coordinate the labour of a group of people. I think of people that idealistically seek for an environment that will support people in times of misfortune, where there wishes are heard. I hope this project will be useful to them. I think of people that want to minimize the greed for money by creating trust that you are helped when you are in need. This project tries to discover economic structures geared towards minimization of unemployment and maximization of wealth. Minimization of unemployment means that the work to be done is equally devided over de people that are able to work. Maximization of wealth for everybody means that the products are equally devided over the population with the consequence that everybody has an acceptable standard of living.
I called this project "Better Economy Research Project", but there is no guarantee that this research project will lead to a better economy. That 's why the ninth goal is so important. As long as people look down on others, for whatever reason, this project won't lead to a better economy. As long as countries or groups of people start wars because they want to rule over others, this project won't lead to a better economy. You really have to consider people as equal, all having the same rights. The word better in "Better Economy Research Project" reflects a hope, a wish.
Think of a shipwreck on an inhabited island. The ship is total loss. Luckily the survivors could take enough valuable tools and food to the island. After the shipwreck they immediately have to do a lot of things. They need a shelter for the night, they need a source of fresh water, they need a fireplace to cook their meals, they need protection against dangerous animals, etc. If all survivors participate in the activities, they will succeed. The first moments after the shipwreck are the situation of the first goal: You make an inventory of the things to be done, and everybody who is able to work, participates in the activities in such a way that everybody works the same amount of time, and no money is involved.
After some time the survivors form a peaceful community, and they wonder if they should introduce money, like they were used to before the shipwreck. As they do not have the ability to make coins, and no ability to check counterfeiting, and also remember terrible things like unemployment, poverty etc. they try to invent something else. They agree that the value of the things they need, should correspond to the time it takes to make these things. But not everyone needs the same things for staying alive, and having a good life. Some people need a wheelchair, others don't. And what about a beautiful concert on the instruments they could save from the ship? Practising an instrument takes a lot of time. And you do not really need a concert to stay alive. Nonetheless they value the ability to play the hell out of a flute. You cannot oblige a person to practise playing the flute. They agree that learning to play a flute for some people is something they need to explore their talents and emotions, what they need to be happy. So offering music lessons is classified as an activity needed for staying alive and having a good life. There is no sharp distinction between making things you need and making things for pleasure. The survivors of the shipwreck decide make a distinction between the activities that need to be done for staying alive, and having a good life and creative activities. They decide: everybody is supposed to participate in the activities needed for staying alive, and having a good life and they stimulate everybody to be creative. These considerations are subjects in the second and third goals.
In our capitalist system many goods are thrown away without ever being used. For instance: fresh food is withdrawn from the market and auctioned off. Any rationally thinking person wants to prevent this. That's why there's a thing called demand forcasting. An organization tries to figure out how much to produce. There is a lot of literature on this subject. That's why demand forcasting is not a goal in this research project. The research project starts where the demand is well estimated and known. Nontheless, in the philosophy of the project the objective of demand forecasting is not personal gain, but wellbeing of the whole society.
In this research project we assume that each production process is described in detail. When designing the scheduling system, we will use a network representation for the production processes, using mathematical graphs consisting of vertices and edges. At each step in a production process we know what expertise and skills are required. We also know what the properties and characteristics of the tools used each step in the production processes.
In this research project we assume that all the expertise and skills of the members of the population are known. These expertise and skills are used to match persons with steps in the production processes. We also match tools with steps in the production processes via the characteristics and properties of the tools.
Within the population groups of people work together to reach certain goals. These groups are called organizations. When trying to reach a fair distribution of the work to be done, the scheduling program tries to assign the people of the same organization to a job. So people that know each other professionally, work together.
In a capitalist society we value products with money. But money is too volatile. Unpredictable events cause prices to go uo or down. We need a more stable valuation of supplies. I think of the following value assignment consumer goods: the number of hours that it takes to produce de product, is the value of the product. It is important to know that this only holds for commodities. De value of a painting of Van Gogh is not the number of hours that it took Van Gogh to make the painting. Such a painting is a unique piece of art that cannot be reproduced. The advantage of using the number of hours that it takes to make the product as the value of the product, is, that this number can be compared to the hours that a person is working. Be aware that cleaning up is part of the production cost. Plastic is the cause of many forms of pollution. Cleaning up this contamination should be included to te price of plastic. Normally you only see the prices of the products in a shop window. My proposal is to show not only the prices, but also the number of hours it took to make the product, and the number of hours it took to transport the product. The subject of the third goal is valuation.
How many and what products is a person allowed to order? In a capitalist society we express the value of a product in money. The value of money is subject to inflation and deflation. The value of money is too volatile. This can be improved. If you take the number of hours needed to make a product as indication for the value of the product, the value of a new product only changes in case of technical progress. As everybody works the same number number of hours, we could remunerate everybody equally, but this is not in line with the fact that some jobs require a higer education or some jobs require responsibility Do we need to stimulate young persons to follow a long-term study by giving them the prospect of live a more luxurious life than others? The subject of the fourth goal is remuneration.
When technology changes all of us will work less. This has enormous consequences. As everbody wants to work as less as possible, efficiency, efficacy and reducing waste are for everyone's benefit. It's in the interest of all. Where a technological progress affects a production process the number of hours to work becomes less. Let's assume a technological improvement cannot always be implemented at the same time in all production locations. When the improvement is installed in half of the production locations, you can imagine that the price of the product becomes something in between the old number of hours and the new number of hours.
We want the waste of one production process be the input of another production process. We also want to consider cleaning up as part of the production cost. So there must be a sharp deviding line between the transition from waste to input. For instance, composting organic matter into topsoil is part of cleaning up in an agricultural activity, but the end product of that activity is topsoil, that is input to the next agricultural activity. It should be clear that the final products from cleaning operations are used in other production processes. In a better economy we want to reduce rubbish dumps, and we want to know what garbage remains unprocessed.
The Better Economy Research Project philosophy will only work when the distribution of work is really in accordance with the choice of the people.
If this condition is not met, the result will be like what we saw in communist country's: all the people wore the same standard clothes. In a shoe shop they only sold one type of shoes. Fashion was dictated by the government. So all people must have the right to participate in decisions what products will be offered.
When it comes to quality, often products cannot be attained. The lifespan of products is often artificially shortened. In a capitalist society you cannot buy a car that does not need to be repaired for 50 years. Such cars can be made, but that does not benefit the manufacturer. This habit causes superflous waste, labor and pollution. In the Better Economy Research Project philosophy manufacturers do not decide what is made. The supply in the shops is determined by what the consumer wants and by what the the general interest requires.
In the Netherlands you can buy marijuana for many years. In so called 'coffee shops' they offer a wide range of species of marijuana. Now an increasing number of states are following the example. There will always be a debate on what is right and what is wrong.
In addition creativity must be encouraged. That means all people are allowed to start a business. People can present a plan describing what products will be produced. The organization resulting from this proposal will be integrated in the existing economy.
It must be clear that the Better Economy Research Project (BERP) philosophy assumes that all people are equal. It seems to me that a BERP economy can never lead to wellbeing for everyone in country's where groups of people are despised by other groups. The Better Economy Research Project philosophy can only be successfully implemented when all members of the population really fight for peace for everyone. Turks against Kurds, Hindu against Muslims, Palestinians against Israelis, Russia against Ukraine, all these conflicts make a righteous economy impossible. You might think these conflicts are deeply rooted in the culture of the countries involved. But maybe a system that destributes the work to be done equally over the people, - I hope - can weaken the distrust, hatred or vengeance between population groups. Humanity will destroy itself if we fail to find a path to peace. The struggle for peace and the sharing of labour and earnings equally go hand in hand. How can we create an ideal economy without a tool that allows everyone to contribute equally to the well-being of society? How can we create a perfect economy when we are not able to calculate who we can allocate to all tasks so that everyone works the same number of hours?
An in-depth analysis of why communism in Russia and Cuba did not bring wellbeing for all is necessary. I think the real reason was the cling to power of the top of the politicians and the suppression of people. People could not express their sorrows and their creative ideas to correcting or improving the situation. The influence of the public was minimized. One of the results was the devastation op the Aral lake. An in-depth analysis of capitalism is also necessary. Capitalism brings prosperity to the rich, but poverty to many others. 'Money flows to the biggest pile', 'maney brings money' and 'the rich get richer, the poor are getting poorer' are well-known sayings. The Better Economy Research Project wants to prevent this development by sharing goods and work equally among the people.
As long as people choose to fly in airplanes while knowing this kind of behaviour leads to global air pollution, the Better Economy Research Project philosophy will not have the desired impact. As long as the industry remains manufacturing cigarettes and tabacco while they know it is detrimental to human health, there is no way to talk about a better economy. So education and mental development are a prerequisite to a better economy.
Both in communism and in capitalism we find a lot of propaganda and advertisements. In some country's the picture or statue of the leader is visible around every street corner, In other country's an advertisement of Coca-Cola can be seen around every corner. Propaganda hampers everybody's ability to form an opinion. Unfortunately too little attention is given to the right to form one's own opinion. Apart from freedom of speech, the right to form an opinion without being influenced by absurdities is extremely important.
Although the project consists of many goals, I am focussing on the first goal. I am designing a computer program that calculates how to distribute the work among the workers in a way that everyboby works the same amount of time.
Go to the first goal : deviding the work fairly
Personal remarks on various subjects (language Dutch)