Previously Mrittunjoy explained the definition of Satyavad. Now he covers the economic angles, how will money work in this new world?
Satyavadi Economics and Politics
Given the importance of the aforementioned relational reality, I would like to propose the embedding of facilitators of Swadharma, of liberty, within a socialist economic system. I feel the most important elements and aspects of my economic model are an emphasis on sustainability and equality instead of per capita GDP as the only measure of progress, a commitment to innovation and reforms, and a commitment to self-determination (which is crucial to the idea of Satya and self-realisation).
Decentralised Planning and Economic Democracy
In the Satyavadi model, I propose a decentralised planning model, where a planning committee at a national level shall only outline the broader aspects of economic development, leaving the details to be resolved by planning bodies at a local level where problems are understood best and dealt with more easily. It is envisioned that this kind of planning shall leave enterprises, communities and workers with a lot of freedom to decide their own economic freedom. This new economic system will be based on localised forms of finances, industry and participatory democracy.
Just as politics based on democracy is most reflective of this, a economic democracy is similarly reflective of Satya. In this model, the decision-making power for the economic future of a community is given to its constituents. In such a economic democracy, a key element is the decentralization of power, giving the freedom to make economic decisions to its stakeholders, possibly by adopting a worker-owned cooperative system and by the use of local resources for the development of the region. This will be a decentralized economy where self-sufficient economic zones are created and organized as per a set of predetermined conditions in each of these Anshams – socio-economic units, with associated Ansham Councils.
Basic Universal Amenities
Given the need for subsistence with dignity for any material and spiritual progress, it is crucial to safeguard basic universal amenities. The Satyavadi system will guarantee:
- Basic education services from the age of 6-18 years, with provisions for higher and adult literacy education with subsidies and prioritized investments at the discretion of Ansham Councils, based on local or national priorities for education and retraining. Wherever post-18 education is for personal fulfilment rather than council or national skill shortages, a charge could be expected.
- Universal healthcare that provides health care and financial protection to all, with the level of public-private involvement decided by the Ansham Councils, with a nationally maintained maximum charge and income-expenditure ratio for the various facilities.
- Social housing provided by Ansham Councils with housing associations for those who apply to their respective Council for housing, with the economically disadvantaged preferred for allocation.
- Universal basic income in the form of community currency in an Ansham. In this model, every member of the community will be given a minimum basic income each month, payable at certain local businesses or organizations, which are selected by the Ansham Council democratically. Only these specific businesses and organisations can convert this currency into actual money. The good part about this would be that the community can decide what to prioritise, be it public-owned factories, transportation companies that are run by women or institutions for differently-abled individuals.
It has been historically seen that basic universal income with welfare and social insurances disincentives work. Therefore, not only is this income in community currency for only specific business and organizations, but it is also not supplemented by others forms of insurances.
In this system, there is a certain emphasis on the democratic economy discussed previously, even in the world of enterprises.
- Most businesses, particularly those producing essential requirements of subsistence, such as housing and agro-sectors, can be operated as cooperatives.
- Businesses that too small for cooperative management and that produce non-essential goods shall be run as private enterprises.
- Very large-scale industries and key/strategic industries shall be run as public utilities, with a primarily no-profit, no-loss basis.
The taxation system for Satyavad is based on promoting social justice and liberty. For starters, the imposition of Wealth Tax on the extremely rich is a must. Another measure that can promote income equality, economic growth and human resource parameter attainments is that of Progressive Taxation on income tax. Other taxes such as Corporate Tax and Inheritance Tax can be imposed as decided upon by the local Ansham Council. Also, personal taxation on income tax for individuals below the poverty thresh-hold must be removed completely.
The national government/authorities and local Ansham Councils shall decide on the wage-bracket (with a minimum and maximum wage) for each kind of occupation, with additional benchmarking levels being incentivised and awarded on completion by wage-perks on a minimum amount (that is decided by the Ansham Council economic boards based on the price of basic necessities and amenities besides those universally assured). Workers are valued and recognized for their unique contributions, and society benefits from every worker’s productivity. The Ansham Council economic boards will then, using GDP and other economic indicators, have to calculate the surplus wealth presently produced i.e. the difference between the total national or local income and the amount needed to provide the minimum wage, and this information will enable them to calculate a maximum legal wage for the local economy.
In the final part, Mrittunjoy explains how government should work along and how companies should show corporate social responsibility.
Mrittunjoy Guha Majumdar
Mrittunjoy is a youth-scientist, student leader, poet, writer, social thinker and activist. He's currently pursuing a postdoctoral project in Physics under Nobel Laureate Prof. Brian Josephson, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, and a postdoctoral affiliate of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has been a four-time elected student leader of the Cambridge University Student Union and Cambridge University Graduate Union and was recently selected among the ‘35 under 35 UK-India Young Leaders’ at the first UK-India Young Leaders Forum.