Community Control

The real power and purpose of the Common Good system is in getting together as a community to decide what our funding priorities should be —for sustainable agriculture and energy systems, for local self-reliance, for ensuring that everyone has healthy food, a home, health care, cultural enrichment, and satisfying work — then issuing Common Good Credits to fund our decisions.

This power to fund our community decisions is essential to a Common Good Economy.

What will we decide? How will we solve the problems that confront us? Will we make wise decisions and act responsibly? Will the money we issue be justified by the material wealth it helps us create? Will we have faith in ourselves and trust each other enough to collaborate effectively?

These questions will be answered only with time. The power of Common Good puts the future in our hands. Let's give it our best shot.

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Decision-Making for the Common Good

The Common Good system has certain built-in rules and a specific covenant members make with each other (the Common Good Agreement). These rules and agreements are the bare minimum needed for the system to function and to keep communities from stepping on each other's toes. As much as possible is left to each community to customize and decide.

No central authority rules the Common Good system. That would undermine community-centered sovereignty. But financial misbehavior by a Common Good Community could hurt other participating communities. So each community must take responsibility for oversight of its neighbors. No one can tell you how to make decisions in your community as long as your decision process is just — that is, as long as every member of the community has a roughly equal opportunity to participate effectively in setting the community's agenda and making its decisions.

So no specific decision system is required. However, Common Good has developed a powerful combination of democratic practices — Common Good Democracy™ — and recommends communities adopt this hybrid system as a starting point step by step, before customizing their local decision system.

Economic democracy is crucial to economic justice and sustainability. In Common Good Democracy every voice counts. At the same time, it is designed to work well even in large diverse groups.

Common Good Democracy combines: liquid democracy, Condorcet, instant runoff, approval voting, internet voting, town meeting-style discussions and a spirit of consensus.

Each of these components is used successfully elsewhere, but Common Good Democracy has distinct advantages over each component alone.

Highlights (follow the links for details)

  • Vote directly on any issue, or let your personal Representative vote for you (voting by proxy).
  • All family members get a vote. Underage voters vote by proxy.
  • Voters discuss issues at public "threshing" sessions and on the internet.
  • Voting begins on a certain day each week.
  • You may change your vote any time before the voting ends, a week later.
  • You can vote in person or on the internet.
  • Issues are presented as multiple-choice questions (or a penny vote, for budget-type issues). You grade all the options that are acceptable to you (A, B, C, D, E) or VETO any option that is completely unacceptable.
  • The most preferred option wins. However, if the winning option is vetoed by 5% or more of the voters, then those voters are given a second opportunity to voice their objections and the issue will be reconsidered and potentially revoted, with new understanding and new options. Meanwhile, the decision stands.
  • Leadership has its own democratic structure as well.