IV. Criteria Towards Economic Policy-Making
Chapter IV begins the process of using the "signposts" (chapter
II) as entry points into specific economic issues (chapter III). Two of these
issues deserve special mention, because of their importance, and also because
of their relationship to the other issues.
The first relates to participation in decision-making as both a means and a
goal. In a world increasingly divided between those who have access to decision-making
processes and those excluded from them, what kinds of systems can allow people
to participate in the decisions which affect their lives?
The second addresses the search for new economic paradigms: "How can genuine
freedoms be combined with appropriate systems of economic exchange, and with
wide-ranging social and environmental security measures... at all levels of
decision-making from the local to the international."
This chapter seeks to explore how the four "signposts" from chapter
II may serve in the process of reaching towards decisions about the issues mentioned
in chapter III. "Towards', because the whole matter of approaching, reaching
and enforcing decisions in such large and complex situations is full of complexities
itself. To pick three of the more obvious areas: it has to be decided by one
set of processes what is desirable, with all the difficulties of discerning
the implications of the alternatives; by another set of considerations it has
to be decided what is possible, for instance in terms of winning consent and
obedience, or in terms of meeting the cost of the decision; yet a third set
of considerations has to do with the most appropriate way to reach the decision,
which raises the crucial questions of democracy and participation.
Given these complexities, all that a paper like this can hope to do is to point
in certain directions. No claim to cover all these matters adequately or that
the WCC somehow "knows best" is either here intended or made. Any
authority that this paper can deserve will consist only in the weight which
it carries by its own truth or wisdom.