Principles for Public Policy

In this document we outline the principles of public policy. These principles are:

  • Non-intervention
  • self-sufficiency
  • equitable society
  • permanent education
  • localism

Non-intervention

The primary duty of a government is to take care of its own citizens. Other societies have their own way to arrange things, which we should respect their right of self-governance. Also needless intervention creates more problems than it solves. Only if there is a clear and substantial threat to national security, intervention is justified.

Except in case of severe human rights violations, such as genocide, military intervention is justifiable. However, we should be aware of the potential for abuse of this “responsibility to protect” to legitimize wars of aggression.

Self-sufficiency

Economic self-sufficiency is essential to maintain a non-interventionist foreign policy and to reduce the impact of international conflicts on domestic society.

The principal issues in regard of self-sufficiency are:

  • energy security
  • food security

Society cannot without a reliable source of energy. Energy security in space settlements will be guaranteed by abundant solar power and hence eliminates the potential of blackmail by foreign energy suppliers.

Humans need food, both in sufficient quantities and of sufficient quality. The government should pursue agricultural policies to ensure the production of enough food, a reasonable variety of crops and to be available at reasonable prices.

Equitable society

An equitable society entails that every citizen has adequate means of existence and has real opportunity to pursue his or her own ends in life.

In order to achieve an equitable society we need:

  • free public education
  • a basic income program
  • interest-free credit
  • universal health care
  • stimulation of self-employment and cooperatives

Give a man a fish, he will have food for a day. Teach him to fish, he will have food for life – common saying.

Above saying illustrates the importance of public education. Citizens have to learn the skills to earn their own income and hence not to be dependent on others. Therefore we are in favor of free public education, including tuition free colleges and universities for citizens.

A basic income guarantee provides a minimum level of certainty for the self-employed and creates a level playing field between wage labor and independent workers. And this program will protect people against the most severe poverty.

Interest is the principal cause of growing inequality and the erosion of the middle class. Rather than prohibiting interest (which will be circumvented anyway), the government should facilitate and promote interest free alternatives such as commercial credit circuits and JAK banks.

Everyone, both poor and rich, can become ill. And illness does not follow merit. In a civilized society all people have equal access to decent healthcare – independent of their financial means. Universal health care will prevent that less fortunate citizens will have to get heavily indebted if they get sick.

The government should use its spending power to stimulate worker cooperatives. Worker cooperatives should be given preferential treatment in public procurement. Also the government should provide funding and assistance to people who want to start a worker cooperative. In the long run wage labor should be replaced by self-employment and worker cooperatives.

Permanent education

Education has two functions: prepare young people to economic life and the cultivation of citizens. In the modern world the emphasis is laid upon the former function, while the latter is ignored.

However, a thriving democratic society cannot function without properly educated citizens. In order to perform their democratic duties, citizens should have a certain amount of general knowledge of the world.

Since the world is changing all the time, only education during childhood is far from sufficient. Democracy can only survives if there are facilities for lifelong learning. Public libraries and folk universities are essential in providing permanent education.

Also free on-line lectures will serve an important function to keep the population educated, as will educational tv programs. Therefore the government needs to invest in those.

Localism

Strong and self-governing local communities are the foundation of a free and republican society. Despite globalization most people spend most time in their neighbourhood and local issues are of the greatest concern of the public.

Local communities should be given the legal and financial means to address their own problems as much as possible. Concentration of power at higher levels of government alienates citizens from politics and feed civil discontent with the political process.

Vital communities also need a strong local economy. Local and complementary currencies such as LETS stimulate local economies and hence should be supported by (local) governments.

See also

The principles of classical republicanism

Principles of prison reform

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