The United States currently has no formal industrial policy. The various policies currently in place that affect the economy, e.g., trade, job, environmental, education, do, however, more or less constitute a defacto national industrial policy.
In spite of the fact that the U.S. has one of the most successful economies in the world, the fact that our industrial policy not been formulated in any coherent manner makes our economic "direction" and prospects for future success rather suspect. Ample evidence exists for some of our major failures over the past few decades, e.g., the loss of a major portion of our manufacturing base and the shift from a significant balance of payments surplus to the world's largest balance of payments deficit, making us the world's greatest debtor nation. While unemployment has been rather moderate, and corporate profits high, the middle class, of which we Americans are so proud, has been shrinking, along with a corresponding increase in the ranks of the poor.
As the basis upon which to build a national industrial policy, Workers of America believes that we, as a nation, should adopt an Economic Bill of Rights and have proposed the following to meet that need:
1. The economy exists for the benefit of each of its citizens, not the reverse.
2. Economic entities and policies should be judged primarily by the degree to which they serve the common good of their community and the nation as a whole.
3. A fundamental economic principle is that the economy provide, at a minmum, basic human needs (i.e., food, clothing, shelter, education, a safe environment) for each member of society.
4. All citizens have a right to an honest job, a living wage and a safe working environment. Likewise, each citizen has an obligation to work if able, to provide for the needs of their family and to contribute to the betterment of the society as a whole.
5. The free market is rightfully the basis of our economy, but it is important to recognize that the benefits of a free market have limits. The government has an essential role in overseeing the proper working of the marketplace to assure:
6. Workers, owners, managers and consumers all have a legitimate stake in the well being of the economy. Their respective interests should be met by balancing those interests against the common good of the society as a whole.
7. The global economy has human consequences. Decisions on investment, trade, aid and development should promote, at a minimum, the provision of basic human needs to all citizens of the global community and protection of the environment for today’s and future generations. At the same time, the promotion of global trade should not be to the detriment of the American standard of living.
This page was last updated on January 30, 1997.
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