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Talking Economics Bulletin - April 2006
Corporate Governance

The Talking Economics Bulletin consists of news and views on associative economics, including short extracts from Associative Economics Monthly (which is available electronically for £1 an issue at www.cfae.biz/aem or in a hard copy format - tel (UK) 01227 738207).

1) Associative Economics Monthly April 06, Editorial
2) Event Details - in London, Stroud, Holland, Switzerland and Norway
3) The Trial of Taxation
4) Associative Economics and Rudolf Steiner's Thinking - A presentation at LSE in association with The Network Project

 

1) EDITORIAL FROM ASSOCIATIVE ECONOMICS MONTHLY - APRIL 06,

According to the British Economist, John Kay, it is only within the last 20 years that the term corporate governance, previously "an esoteric branch of commercial law" has come into wide circulation. Yet today few questions can be more crucial than the one which asks by what logic the corporation is governed: whether, for example, the entrepreneur is sovereign or subjugate to the investor's financial power. While some, like Milton Friedman, believe the only social responsibility of business is to increase profits, others ask if this is the sole purpose of company strategy or an outcome of its real aim: to provide a service to the community at large, including its customers who are only one among several of its stakeholders. John Mackey in Putting Customers Ahead of Investors shares his experience of creating an $8B company with 36,000 employees by doing just that. The Rare Albion column, Profits and Ownership, champions the stock corporation, with the proviso that a simple but crucial distinction needs to be made between voting and pecuniary rights. Signs of the Times offers evidence of the increasingly recognition of Rudolf Steiner's contribution to economics. Of Profits and Principles consists of two extracts from Steiner's work, one shows how the "accident of the market• is done away with, in favour of a reasoned correspondence between production and consumption mediated by human beings. In the other, a stand is taken on the principle of association rather than that of companies, a perplexing concept that the article endeavours to explain. Avinash Persaud and John Plender argue that a moral compass is needed in business and finance ethics. D'Arcy MacKenzie shares his understanding of associative economics by asking how the shift is to be made from preoccupation with owningcapital to asking who actually needs to put it to use.

 

2) EVENTS IN LONDON, UK:

8 April, 2006 - Associative Economics and Rudolf Steiner's Thinking 1.30-4.30pm Room S315, St Clements Building, at the London School of Economics, England. A presentation in association with The Network Project contact: Rosamund Stock, r.e.stock@lse.ac.uk

28 Apr, 19 May, 9 Jun 2006 The Metamorphosis of Capitalism - An introductory course in associative economics. Fridays, 2-5 pm, booking only (Venue below) 3x3x3 - An opportunity to study Rudolf Steiner's Economics Course (Come occasionally or sign for the whole course) Fridays, 7.15 - 9.15 pm (Venue below) Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Road, NW1 6XT London

IN STROUD, UK:
Talking Economics Evenings - Star Anise Arts Cafô, Stroud, UK , Mondays 7-9pm The Trial of Taxation. -
3rd April: Time for a World Currency?
8th May Ethics with Everything
5th Jun
For details of above events: info@talkingeconomics.com 01452 810764

IN HOLLAND AND NORWAY:
The Colours of Money
- An introduction to associative economics
Netherlands, 21 - 23 April, 2006
Oslo, 16 - 18 June, 2006

Details from: mail@cfae.biz IN DORNACH, SWITZERLAND: Events at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Basel, Switzerland,
January -June 2006: Lectures: Thursdays: 8.00-9.30pm, Goetheanum Ethical financialism: Modern finance as a mirror of ourselves - 11 May Rudolf Steiner•s True Price: The key to transforming modern economic life - 1 June Beyond competition: The prospects for associative economics today - 29 June Workshops: Fridays: 9.00Ý12.00 am, Conference Room, Youth Section House 12th May, 2nd June, 30th June 2006 For further details contact: Email: economics@goetheanum.org / Tel: Christopher Houghton Budd (0044 1227 738207) / Jesse Osmer 061 706 4391 (CH)

 

3) THE TRIAL OF TAXATION
The next Talking Economics evening, on Monday 3 April at the Star Anise Arts Cafe, Stroud, UK provides an opportunity to look a little deeper at the issues around taxation. Taxation is on trial. On the basis that it is not a legal obligation in the terms of the US constitution, millions of Americans are refusing to pay income taxation. In the UK, where precedent is the guide, the king's right to raise an army• is accepted, or at least felt to be an incontestable right. Yet one might legitimately ask what ultimately stands behind taxation. Some think of it purely as a levy that enables the state to function, while others see it as a way in which the government can conduct social engineering: for example, by giving tax-breaks to charitable• organisations or by attempting to socialise the selfishness of its citizens, collecting revenue here• in order to redistribute it there.• Should the state should let itself out of the allocation loop by giving tax credits to social donors? The ever-changing world of taxation engenders a lumbering bureaucracy in its wake. Enthusiasts for ®flat-taxes• point out that what is really needed is a simpler system. Why have umpteen forms of taxation when logic indicates that one would suffice? Proponents of ®tax-justice• put a question mark over the future of revenue taxation by describing the increasing trend of taxable income to go off-shore, with an estimated 355 billion of tax revenue lost annually. The other side is that taxation puts the individual citizen on trial. Critics scoff that for those on low incomes tax is inevitable, whereas tax avoidance is simply a matter of planning for the well-to-do, who can afford to choose. Should one consult conscience or tax law in order to know what is due? Do I attempt to veil the real nature of my financial situation, by more or less legal means, or do I make a full and honest declaration? Formal presentation is kept to a minimum such that the discussion is participant driven and question led. Cost £3.50 / Venue Star Anise Arts Cafô, Stroud, UK - Enquiries Arthur Edwards 01452 810764 / arthur@talkingeconomics.com

 

4) ASSOCIATIVE ECONOMICS AND RUDOLF STEINER'S THINKING

- A presentation by Arthur Edwards in association with The Network Project at the London School of Economics, 8 April, 2006, 1.30-4.30pm Room S315, St Clements Building. This presentation, with a discussion afterwards, will serve as an introduction to associative economics, an approach initiated by Rudolf Steiner through various publications in the early 20th century but especially through a course of lectures given in 1922. Best known as a philosopher and pioneering thinker, whose work has led to innovative new approaches in education, farming and medicine (Waldorf Schools, Bio-dynamic gardening and Weleda Pharmaceuticals), Rudolf Steiner is less well known as for his economic insights. Indeed one might argue that the unfamiliar nature of what he had to say, coupled with his emphasis on employing a descriptive methodology, did not quite match the 20th century palate, schooled as it was to proceed from largely conceptual starting points. Though economic life since the 1920s has developed on a quite different basis from the one he indicated, his observations about its increasingly global nature and the impossibility of making headway on the basis of a nationalised outlook now seem convincingly prescient. Crucially, his depiction of the articulated nature of money, as dynamic bookkeeping, allows humanity to step beyond gold into a world where individuals, together in association, are able to manage economic life.

For further introductory material contact: Arthur Edwards 01452 810764 / arthur@talkingeconomics.com For organisational questions contact: Rosamund Stock, r.e.stock@lse.ac.uk --

'Associative Economics Monthly', is available at www.cfae.biz/publications The associative approach to economics is based on the idea that economic life is the shared responsibility of every human being. Talking Economics is about making this responsibility conscious and finding ways to give it effect. www.talkingeconomics.com -- www.talkingeconomics.co.uk The Centre for Associative Economics, Forge House, The Green, Chartham, Canterbury, CT4 7JW, 01227 738207

www.talkingeconomics.com

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