Gus Hagelberg and Christian Felber
This article was originally published in Tikkun Magazine.
The Economy for the Common Good (ECG) is an international movement which started in October 2010 on the initiative of a dozen companies in Austria. Presently over 2000 companies support the ECG and over 100 local chapters are working with businesses, governments and civil society. It is a holistic, alternative economic model which envisions a free market economy, in which the common good is the ultimate goal of economic activity.
Goals of ECG
The ECG has three underlining goals:
1. It strives to dissolve the contradiction between the values held by many business interests such as profit maximization and values held by society in general. The ECG looks for ways to encourage values in the business community that allow us to nurture interpersonal relationships. These include trust-building, mutual appreciation, cooperation, sharing and a connectedness with nature.
2. The values and goals laid down in most western constitutions should be implemented in business practices. The current economic order contradicts the spirit of these constitutions. One example can be found in the Italian constitution:
„Public and private economic activity should be oriented to the common good.”
3. Economic success should no longer be measured strictly in financial terms such as profits and growth. Success should be measured according to a company’s contribution to the common good. Business should be rewarded for practices that improve human rights, social justice and environmental protection. At present a company often suffers if it adheres to these ideals.