Competition year: 2004
About Robley George
Bucky was right. Utopia or Oblivion? That is the question.
Ah, Utopia! That crucial concept and crucial ambiguity! Is Utopia something that is no place and never will be anywhere? Or is Utopia just around the corner of human consciousness?
This proposal respectfully suggests, justifies, and demonstrates feasibility of the adoption of Socioeconomic Democracy, a realizable democratic socioeconomic Utopia.
It seems there have always and everywhere been two major thrusts of progressive political activity. Determined or hesitant, but always present, they can be found throughout the Ages, in the United States of America, and throughout the "globalizing" world. These two thrusts are the ubiquitous demand for more and more meaningful democracy and the equally ubiquitous search for a more sustainable and just socioeconomic system that resolves, rather than creates and perpetuates, serious, unnecessary, and costly societal problems.
Combining these two active thrusts produces, or certainly suggests, what has come to be called Socioeconomic Democracy. It is respectfully submitted that the present state of the world, intimately interconnected and interrelated, makes the realization of some form of Socioeconomic Democracy absolutely essential, not only for human progress but for human survival.
Socioeconomic Democracy is a theoretical model socioeconomic system wherein there exist both some form of Universally Guaranteed Personal Income (UGI) and some form of Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth limit (MAW), with both the lower bound on personal material poverty and the upper bound on personal material wealth set and adjusted democratically by all participants of society. Many of the details, implications, and ramifications of Socioeconomic Democracy have been discussed in the book Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System published by Praeger (2002).
The essence of Socioeconomic Democracy may be traced back at least to some of the thinkers of ancient Greece, such as Thales, Plato and Aristotle; to all the great religions of the world; as well as Tom Paine (who gave the United States of America its name and the inspiration to perform the new experiment) and Tom Jefferson (who made the experiment official); and on down to include the many progressive thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. All have pleaded for humanity to think about ideas similar to these. It appears it is now time for humanity to act.
Basic Elements of Socioeconomic Democracy
UGI. In the idealized state of the model, each participant in this democratic socioeconomic system would know that, regardless of what he or she did or did not do, a democratically determined Universally Guaranteed Personal Income (UGI) would always be available. Put another way, society would guarantee each citizen some minimum amount of purchasing power, with that amount determined democratically by all of society and with citizenship the only requirement for eligibility to participate.