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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.


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