An initiative aimed at
realizing Rudolf Steiner's
Three-fold Social Order
A THREE-FOLD or TRI-SECTORAL IMAGINATION OF THE AMERICAN FUTURE:
A New Covenant Between the American People and Its Government
ECONOMIC SOLIDARITY in business
CIVIL EQUALITY in government
CULTURAL FREEDOM in education and the arts and sciences
LET US TRY COMMON SENSE AND RID OURSELVES OF CORRUPTION THROUGH A NEW TRI-SECTORAL IMAGINATION OF AMERICAN SOCIETY.
Can we truly foster freedom of belief, religion, and educational choice; extend equality before the law and in politics; and create an economy which serves people and the earth? This is what FDR hoped for when he proclaimed the four freedoms and asked the question of “whether individual men and women will have to serve some system of government or economics or whether a system of government and economics existed to serve individual men and women?” His answer was to promote freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in one’s own way, freedom from fear and freedom from want, the four freedoms which can be seen as beacons for a tri-sectoral society. Freedom of speech and freedom of worship and belief are calls to foster individual freedom in cultural life through a high quality, accessible, and diverse educational system and through protections from the manipulation of governments and corporations. The third freedom, freedom from fear, expresses our need to live in a society governed by democracy and equal rights before the law and not subject to corruption and the power of special interest groups. The last, freedom from want, addresses our need for a stable, healthy stakeholder economy serving the needs of the earth and of each human being.
ECONOMIC SOLIDARITY in business
Let us create a responsible form of Stakeholder Capitalism which serves the true needs of people and of the earth.
We can amend and renew our economy by:
· Chartering corporations as proposed in the Responsible Capitalism Act, now before the Senate, and requiring all large corporations with over $1 billion in revenue to seek a renewable charter from a Federal Commission made up of citizen representatives from government, civil society, and business life. We now charter schools and colleges as well as non-profit organizations, so why not corporations who also benefit from our society and its culture. The criteria for receiving and renewing a charter would be to meet the requirements of the triple bottom line: profitability, sustainability, and community support. Smaller corporations would receive a similar state charter, and all corporations would undergo a regular charter review process. Boards of corporations would consist of 55% civil society and public sector representatives as well as employees, thereby balancing the interests of shareholders and capital, the remaining 45%.
· Taxing the use of environmental inputs and emissions through a land tax, a water tax, and a carbon pollution tax, supporting the principles of natural capitalism.
· Taxing the profits of all corporations at 10 percent with no deductions and exemptions for the public benefits they use: roads, infrastructure, education, and culture.
· Having the goal of a carbon neutral economy in ten years and adopting the principles of the Green New Deal proposed to Congress by Senator Markey and Congresswoman Octavio-Cortez. Funding such initiatives though public banking initiatives and an Automatic Payments Tax (APT).
· Supporting the cooperative, B Corp, and Public Benefit Corporation movements by stopping the tax breaks and subsidies presently provided to large and politically powerful corporations and industries such as those in the oil and nuclear sectors.
· Creating producer-consumer-trader associations to guide and stimulate local and regional economic life.
· Paying for these societal benefits and a Green New Deal by gradually introducing an Automatic Payments Transaction Tax (APT) of 0.35 percent on all economic transactions from buying groceries or leasing a car to trading stocks and commodities. While the real economy generates about $20 trillion a year, the financial economy—stock trades, derivatives, bonds, commodities, Treasury bills, and capital transfers—is estimated to be between $750 and $1,000 trillion a year in the U.S. It is estimated that a tax of 0.35 percent could replace all other taxes except for a portion of local property taxes and some corporate taxes for local services. It was proposed by President Bush’s Tax Reform Commission in 2005. See www.apttax.com for more detailed information.
CIVIL EQUALITY in government
Let us fix a broken democracy by recognizing the truth of Supreme Court Justice Brandeis’s statement:
“We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
We can reform government and politics by:
· Limiting all political donations by individuals to political campaigns and parties to $5,000 per year per person and prohibiting corporate and institutional campaign donations.
· Getting rid of the electoral college and providing for term limits for the House and the Senate.
· Providing for multi-party redistricting commissions for all state and federal offices following a national census.
· Prohibiting federal and state elected officials and appointed officials from lobbying activities for five years after leaving their office.
· Creating an official election day on a Saturday to allow working people to vote without loss of pay.
· Mandating ranked-choice voting for state and federal elections, which California and Maine now have for state elections, in order to limit the power and influence of political parties who tend to polarize the electorate and block the will of the people.
· Fighting restrictive voting laws.
· Passing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), giving women equal rights in all sectors of public life.
· Establishing citizen councils of representatives from civil society, government, and business at local, regional, and state levels to review and to propose legislation to legislative bodies to foster the public good.
· Developing a reasonable immigration policy for refugees, immigrants, Dreamers, and long-term illegal immigrants, remembering that most American citizens are descendants of immigrants or of slaves brought here against their will.
· Initiating a program of universal national service.
· And because quality health care and the right to a dignified existence are human rights, let us adopt a single-payer health system, as most other Western democracies have, and provide a guaranteed basic income of $12,500 per year for every child and adult during their lives. Contrary to much popular sentiment, this is something we can afford if we adopt a fair tax system.
You can work in this direction by joining www.RepresentUs.com
CULTURAL FREEDOM in education and the arts and sciences
We can extend and deepen cultural freedom in our society by:
· Honoring and protecting freedom of speech, the free exercise of one’s religion, the right of free assembly, trial by jury, and the unhindered right to vote, all established by the Constitution.
· Providing for true educational choice and equality of access by funding diverse educational institutions with competing educational philosophies at comparable levels—day care, schools, colleges, and universities—taking into account the regional differences in living costs and the nature of the institutions in question. All educational institutions need to be non-profit organizations and would be chartered by regional educational associations consisting of parents, teachers, and educational administrators. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a good model to work from. The role of the state would be limited to assuring safety and health requirements, non-discrimination, and equality of access.
· Regulating and limiting the power of Big Tech—Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft—to spy on us, manipulate our opinions, foster hate speech, and undermine elections.
· Recognizing that corporations and the state now seek to control education as well as our cultural and religious/spiritual choices, all of which properly belong to individuals and families. Therefore let teachers and parents determine educational priorities and options through regional school boards while keeping corporations, such as media and computer-learning companies, out of kindergartens and schools.
· Funding arts and cultural life at much higher levels, which many European nations now do, through supporting local and regional arts councils to foster greater cultural activity and choice in a region.
We need to recognize that our democracy—the American experiment in self-government—rests on a diverse, excellent, and affordable educational system as clearly seen by Thomas Jefferson at the time of our founding as a nation.
Let us again honor our international responsibilities by taking a lead on climate change, mass migrations, poverty, and war in the poorer regions of the world and recognize that the dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) of machines escaping human control and human values, are real and require a global effort.
Let us renew the American Dream and honor freedom in cultural life; equality in democratic, state life; and mutuality and service in economic life. If we can do so and appeal to the fully human in each of us, then it is possible to transform corruption, egotism, and exploitation into a new American Covenant between the American people and its government. In doing so let us remember the insight of Jacob Needleman:
“America is the fact, the symbol, and the promise of a new beginning.”
From the Threefold Working Group of 3FSOToday.org
Christopher Schaefer, Edward Baumheier, Davina Muse, Leah Walker, John Beck, Abraham Entin, Luigi Morelli, and Linda Lingane
“Social ThreeFolding is a concept introduced by Rudolf Steiner in I919. Rather than being an attempt to devise an artificially imposed social programme, it sets out to establish actual laws that work in and to clarify and enhance these. Threefold society consists of three, clearly delineated and autonomous realms; spiritual and cultural life, the proper domain of liberty; political life, where equality should rightfully prevail; and economic life where principles of fraternity should be upheld. Whereas the slogan of the French Revolution - ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity‘ - sought to apply these principles in a general way to all society, Steiner regards each principle as having its different and speciﬁc sphere of application. Rudolf Steiner’s fundamental social law states: The well-being of a community of people working together will be the greater, the less the less the individual claims for himself the proceeds of his work. In other words, the more of these proceeds he makes over to his fellow workers, the more his own needs are satisﬁed, not out of his own work but out of the work done by others. His suggestions. which he hoped at the time would have real impact on social thinking, largely fell on deaf ears. However, the principles he delineated are ones which remain valid as a diagnostic tool, at least, of where society goes wrong - for example, the way in which cultural and spiritual endeavors are frequently constrained or distorted by ﬁnancial issues. One might think here of the common lack of independence of scientists engaged in medical research controlled by large commercial corporations, which have a ﬁnancial interest in the research results." From:
Anthroposophy A-Z, A Glossary of Terms Relating to Rudolf Steiner's Spiritual Philosophy, Henk Van Dort, Sophia Books, Forest Row, East Sussex.
Economic life concerns transforming what nature provides in the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms into commodities that meet human needs. From the threefold perspective, economic activity should be organized and carried out in the spirit of brotherhood with the objective of meeting the needs of all human beings on the planet.
Rudolf Steiner maintained that the entire economic life was encompassed by what he called the “Law of True Price.” He formulated the law in these words: “A true price is forthcoming when a man receives, as counter-value for the product he has made, an amount sufficient to enable him to satisfy the whole of his needs, including of course the needs of his dependents, until he will again have completed a like product.” (2) economics
The middle realm of the threefold social organism is the legal domain (also called the political or rights domain). Its role is to establish laws that govern the behavior of all adults equally. From the threefold perspective this domain is exclusively about human rights and, in particular, there is no room here for business entities. From this it follows that there is no place in the legal domain for corporations as legal persons. Regulation of business life is a matter for associations of the economic life. Political questions concerning human rights and obligations are the sole subject matter of the political\rights domain. The laws formulated in this domain should be formulated independent of economic concerns and power. This means that economic resources should play no role in deciding the rights, laws and obligations of human beings. Once rights and laws have been established society must have the power to enforce them and, consequently, police power belongs to the legal domain. To the extent that it is necessary to defend the rights from foreign intrusion, military power also belongs here. (2)
Culture, in the widest sense, is about the cultivation and recognition of human capacities. Human capacities are the spiritual endowments that rain in upon the earth with the births of new human beings. Finding the best way of unfolding these capacities is the task of the cultural domain. The key ingredient for this is freedom. The archetypal picture of this freedom-in-operation is the teacher with his students. In unfolding this relationship only the spiritual/mental faculties, feelings and insights of the teacher and students should come into play. Steiner described this freedom in a newspaper article:
“[The cultural life] aims at a form of cooperation among men to be based entirely on the free intercourse and free association of individuality with individuality. Here human individuality will not be forced into an institutional mold. How one person assists another, how one helps another advance will simply arise from what one, through his own abilities and accomplishments, is able to be for the other. It is no great wonder that presently many people are still able to imagine nothing but a state of anarchy as a result of such a free form of human relations in the social order’s spiritual-cultural branch. Those who think so simply do not know what powers of man’s innermost nature are hindered from expanding when man is forced to develop in the pattern into which the state and economic system mold him. Such powers, deep within human nature, cannot be developed by institutions, but only through what one being calls forth in perfect freedom from another being.” (2)