We aim at a just, sustainable and happy society which we call the Society of Agreement. We want the Society of Agreement to be a reality in 2050 or before.
The Society of Agreement is based upon 3 mutually-supporting pillars:
- pan-European democracy, in all public institutions and private organisations (agreement among humans on decisions);
- social justice and confidence in the future for all (agreement among humans on the allocation of resources);
- environmental sustainability, with a prospect of sustaining human civilisation indefinitely and specifically: Greenhouse Gases emissions below net-zero (agreement of humans with the laws governing the geo-biosphere upon which we depend).
In the Society of Agreement, everyone enjoys his/her fundamental human, social and economic rights, lives from his/her work, in decent living conditions compatible with the finite resources of our planet, and is confident in his/her future and in that of his/her children, for the generations of today and those of the future. In this society, every citizen participates in a democratic policy- and decision-making at the scale large enough to have an impact, that of the European Union, and in all public institutions and private organisations. The Society of Agreement is comprehensively described in this document (ca. 60 pages).
The three pillars of the Society of Agreement support each other and are intimately inter-linked. Environmental sustainability is the condition for human civilisation to exist, and thus for justice and democracy to have a meaning. Social justice and confidence in one's future are the prerequisite for the deep political agreements, long-term vision and frugality that sustainability requires. Democracy at all scales is the only area in which human autonomy can deploy in a sustainable, and thus materially-constrained, world. Only a strongly united and deeply democratic European Union has the political power and legitimacy to implement on time these deep transformations of our society, and to overcome the foreseeable resistance of economic and financial interests (learn more).
We transform society, the economy and the political system towards the Society of Agreement as described here.
We understand the concepts of "pan-European democracy", "social justice" and "environmental democracy" as follows:
- Pan-European democracy. Democracy is a value in itself. It is the political system that embodies human dignity and equality in the decision-making process governing our collective future in public institutions and private organisations. It is because all humans are equal in their rights that they are equally legitimate to participate in taking collective decisions. Every person must be able to participate in the initiative of proposals regarding collective action or public policy, in their amendment and in their ranking in priority order. The deliberative democracy platform and the organisational model used by the CosmoPolitical Cooperative are in themselves an attempt to embody internal democracy in software code1 and in human-based procedures.
Pan-European democracy is a democracy uniting citizens, and taking action, beyond national, linguistic and cultural boundaries, and where every citizen participates in decision-making at all scales, up to the one large enough to have an impact on the world order, that of the European Union. We believe it to be possible because what unites Europeans, and the common issues that they face, are greater than what separates them and because we believe that, despite all its weaknesses that we acknowledge, the European Union is the first existing trans-national democratic institution. We aim at implementing democracy in all private organisations and companies and at all scales of public institutions, from the municipality to the European Union.
- Social justice is a situation of social security, cohesiveness, inclusiveness and equality; where economic inequalities in income and in inherited wealth have been drastically reduced; where every citizen is assured to live in dignity from his / her work, for life, in a stable employment for those desiring it, feels and is safe and confident about his/her future and in that of his/her children, and thus willing and able to undergo important changes in his/her life.
- Environmental sustainability, which we understand as follows. It is our duty to ensure every inhabitant of the planet decent living conditions, compatible with the finite nature of all biological, physical and geological resources necessary to a human civilisation, without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same over an indefinitely long period of time. It is a production and consumption model where: (1) the climate is maintained in a stable state (below 1.5°C warming), compatible with the long-term preservation of the agricultural systems that feed humankind, and thus where net Greenhouse Gases emissions are below zero; (2) every renewable resource is used at or below the rate at which it can regenerate itself; (3) every non-renewable resource is used at or below the rate at which a renewable substitute can be developed; and (4) every pollution stream is emitted at or below the rate at which it can be absorbed or made harmless. We believe that a form of improvement in the quality of living conditions is possible, even under very stringent constraints on energy and material flows. This improvement is based on an increase in the efficiency in the usage of all resources (energy, raw materials, soil, water, human work, human capabilities) due to the accumulation and the maintenance of all forms of productive and cultural capital (natural regeneration and production capacities of the biosphere; human competencies; human culture; infrastructures, machinery and networks; scientific, technical and institutional knowledge; coordination capability; institutions, laws, regulation and standards).
In addition to these three main pillars, the features of the Society of Agreement that we strive for, in the European Union and globally, are the following:
- Human rights, as described in the Universal Declaration of the United Nations2, which are equally accessible to all humans without discrimination (Art. 1 and 2) – but not to corporations –, and include formal rights, such as protection of life and of personal integrity (Art. 3, 4, 5), of privacy (Art. 12), the protection of law (Art.6 to 11) and of a nationality (Art. 13 and 15), freedom of movement within a State and right to asylum (Art. 13 and 14), right to marriage (Art. 16), to property within the limits of social cohesiveness and social justice (Art. 17) freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Art. 18), of opinion (Art. 19), of association (Art. 20), right to democracy (Art. 21), and social and economic rights, such as social security (Art. 22), right to work, for a decent pay, and to join a trade union (Art. 23), to limitation in working hours and to periodic holidays with pay (Art. 24), to a decent standard of living (Art. 25), to education (Art. 26), to culture and science (Art. 27).
- Rule of law. Law is the only tool available to the weak and to the poor to uphold their rights against the rich and the powerful. It must apply and be accessible equally to all. It must provide redress opportunities, legal security and the predictability of legal decisions, equally for all parties.
- Education. We consider education as being the essential tool for humans to emancipate themselves from ignorance, from prejudice, from social and ethnic determinisms, and from oppression. Education provides the capabilities and knowledge for humans to evolve and adapt, individually and collectively – which will be of utmost importance in a century of massive, structural change. Education is also one's only truly unalienable asset.
- Peace, between nations, between members of society and within ourselves. Peace can only last if justice and truth prevail.
The Society of Agreement is partially built upon, and deepens, the ideas developed in:
- Building a Sustainable and Desirable Economy-in-Society-in-Nature, described in a report to the United Nations by R. Costanza et al., 2012, which describes a coherent framework aiming at "Sustainable Well-Being" and based on the preservation of 4 sorts of capital: (1) natural, (2) social and cultural, (3) human and (4) built.
- the concept of Symbiotic Economy, proposed by I. Delannoy: "a regenerative economy that can reconcile intense human activity, flourishing natural ecosystems and economic prosperity, by bringing into synergy sustainable solutions from all fields" .
1By using the Free, Libre and Open Source deliberative democracy software called KuneAgi: http://www.kuneagi.org/index.php/english/14-fonctionscararcteristiquesen/27-democratieinterneen and LiquidFeedback http://www.liquidfeedback.org and its statutes outlined here
2Downloadable in more than 500 languages at: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html
In our views, the three pillars of the Society of Agreement support each other and are intimately inter-linked.
- Neither social justice nor democracy are possible in environmentally unsustainable societies. In the short term, the first victims of environmental destruction are the poor, who are forced to live in the polluted, noisy, isolated and unhealthy places created by the unsustainable individual and collective consumption patterns of the rich and of the middle class. In the longer term, the shortages of food, fuel or other material goods brought by unsustainable life-styles destroy the livelihood of the whole population. At the end, such societies collapse in the dreadful chaos of a fight for bare survival1. Said differently and more brutally: no positive societal value such as social justice or democracy can exist if human society is destroyed.
- Reciprocally, no environmental sustainability agenda can be implemented in socially unjust societies. This is because inequalities and precariousness generate (1) social and political conflicts, (2) short-termism and (3) ostentatious consumption, the exact opposite of what is needed for a transition to sustainability. Our detailed argument is the following. First, the transition to an environmentally sustainable society is a fundamental transformation. It changes the way we produce and consume, it impacts our cultures and our even our dreams for the future. It demands to agree on the sharing of immense costs, benefits and risks, among all of us, all around the globe, in a very short time. Achieving this level of political agreement among good-willed people is a huge challenge in itself. It becomes impossible when anger, frustration and fear, created by inequalities and precariousness, put the very legitimacy of democratic institutions (whose purpose is to solve conflicts peacefully) in question. Second, for people living in precariousness, the future is very limited, sometimes for them it's even about finding food from one day to the next. Sustainability policies on the other hand develop over much longer time – often decades. Third, in unequal societies, many consume wastefully, and ostentatiously2. This is rational: it is an attempt to show to others that the person belongs to the rich and the powerful, in a society where only them (or those that make believe they are) are safe and secure, while the poor and the weak are being trampled upon. This ostentation is the opposite of the frugal consumption that we need for our societies to be environmentally sustainable.
- These two deep social and economic transformations, towards social justice and towards environmental sustainability will (1) severely impact the concentrated wealth and power of multi-national corporations and of the rich and very rich global elite (the "1%"), and (2) require political compromises at large scale between very divergent and yet legitimate interests, which will be difficult even among good-willing partners. Overcoming the resistance of the global oligarchy is impossible with weak, fragmented political powers such as the European States separately. Only a strong, democratically legitimate and unitary European Union bears enough power to impose its decisions to multinational corporations and to the richest 1%. Only a truly trans-national democracy, of which the European Union is a prototype, can legitimate the political agreements at large scale necessary to successfully address the global challenges of the 21st century.
For all these reasons, we build the three pillars of the Society of Agreement, i.e. pan-European democracy, social justice and environmental sustainability, in parallel, inseparably from one another.
2e.g. by visibly displaying the luxury brands of their goods