Christian Felber thinks big. Not content with marginal change, he proposes a thorough overhaul of our capitalist system. In his world, companies still earn profits. But they are driven not by revenues and costs, but by their Common Good balance sheet, which evaluates them on how cooperative they are with other companies, whether their products and services satisfy human needs, and how humane their working conditions are. A company is awarded Common Good points accordingly, and its score is published, so that customers know whom they are dealing with. A good score also entitles the company to favorable government treatment: lower taxes, better borrowing terms, and more public contracts.
Could this world actually come about? I honestly don’t know. But I have encountered such a society on a smaller scale. Thirteen years ago, I was introduced to the Camphill movement, which builds communities where disabled people live together with their caregivers (my son lived at a Camphill school for six years). Like Christian’s utopia, these communities place the highest value on cooperation, dignity, and service. If they can do it, perhaps Christian’s vision is not so far-fetched. Eric Maskin