About This Website: Part Two.
Welcome to Huxley’s Third Alternative!
Rather than having a hidden ideological agenda, as many websites and blogs do, we’ve decided to be somewhat old-fashioned, and be upfront with the key ideas behind this site (and its editorial position) in a two part series.
In part one, we looked at the underlying ideas behind this site, explained what we mean by ‘Huxley’s Third Alternative,’ and looked at three key philosophies behind it. In part two, we will make a list of a number of philosophical and political questions, then briefly explain where Huxley’s Third Alternative stands.
Neither Left Nor Right: Where We Stand
Part one of this series was rather abstract and philosophical. To simplify matters a little, we’ve decided to spell out, in 22 points, where ‘Huxley’s Third Alternative’ stands on a number of underlying social questions (these are the premises that we will base our analysis, and our policy solutions, on):
- Three forces of production: Traditionally, economics (both Marxist and neoliberal) has presented us with two forces of production: labour and capital. We recognise, however, that the third – and most important – force of production is natural resources. In fact, natural resources are the basis of all other material wealth, which is created by ‘adding value’ through labour and / or capital.
- Income from the ownership of the three forces of production: ‘Wages’ are to labour, as ‘interest’ is to capital, as ‘rents’ (or ‘economic rents’) are to natural resources.
- Co-existence of mutual aid and conflict in human nature: Conflict and mutual aid are both part of human nature. Contrary to popular belief, they are not mutually exclusive; mutual aid can take place between two or more persons in conflict. This having been said, mutual aid is a far more important force in evolution – in particular human evolution – than conflict.
- Augmentation of human nature by social circumstances: While conflict and mutual aid are both part of human nature, the form that they take is impacted by social, political, natural, cultural, and other circumstances. A given person’s nature is formed through childhood by adapting to the circumstances that they find themselves in, and this nature is, in turn, adapted as circumstances change.
- People are endowed with basic human rights: These should be protected through a Bill of Rights.
- Freedom where no harm is done: People should be free to live their lives as they see fit, without interference, so long as them doing so does no harm to others.
- Tolerance is a virtue: In general, a society where its citizens are free from discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexual preference, religious, or ethnic identity.
- Genocide is always reprehensible.
- Three sectors of the economy: Traditionally, economic institutions have been divided between the ‘public sector’ (i.e. government), and the ‘private sector’ (corporations, individuals, private property, and markets). We recognise, however, that beyond the State and the private sector is a third sector of the economy. This third sector comprises of co-operatives, clubs, mutual societies, building societies, credit unions, communes, collectives, not-for-profit organisations, many religious institutions, trade unions, charities, LETS programmes, and other organisational forms. Such institutions are fundamentally different from both private and public sector institutions (for example, they neither seek to maximise profit, nor are all centrally controlled), yet are all too often systematically overlooked by both the left and right of politics and economics.
- Competitive markets, centralised States, and grassroots federation: Traditionally, economic debate has focused on whether industry is best organised via competition (between hierarchical, top-down corporations) within markets, or via hierarchical top-down government. We recognise, again, a third alternative: individuals voluntarily federating into third sector organisations, and said third sector organisations working, (or working together) to organsie industry.
- The third sector can fill much of the legislative role of centralised government: Governments have the power to delegate legislative power to democratic, member-owned third sector organisations with open membership. They should do so where practical.
- The third sector can fill much of the executive role of centralised government: Where a social service needs to be provided, it is better to do so by providing funding to democratic, member owned third-sector organisations than attempt to do so through a centralised government bureaucracy.
- The third sector can fill much of the role of the corporate sector: Many goods and services currently provided through corporations can, and should, ideally be provided via democratic, member owned third-sector organisations.
- Where governments must exist, make them as participatory as practical: This means proportional representation or – better still – delegate councils, and direct participation by delegates in government decision-making processes.
- Where markets exist, they should be competitive: Or, phrased differently, private monopolies are abhorrent. Private monopolies see people rewarded not for the fact that they have contributed to the wealth of a society because of the contribution of their labour or capital; instead, they are rewarded for the fact that they own a monopoly. Taxation, regulation, and socialisation should be employed to deal with monopolies.
- Natural resource rentals are particularly abhorrent: Private ownership of (finite) natural resources is a government sanctioned share in a monopoly. While people should be free to ‘own’ the additional value their labour or capital adds to natural resources, any income generated through the ownership of natural resources should be taxed. This taxed income should be used to offset or eliminate taxes on productive activities, and / or redistributed to the community.
- Consumer side critiques: Often, arguments about workers’ exploitation is done through looking at production. However, if we remember that workers earn incomes to supply themselves with goods and services, it becomes apparent that workers – as consumers – are exploited through paying too much (and thus working too much) to cover the cost of private monopolies, and privately owned natural resources.
- Four basic socioeconomic classes: Traditionally, socioeconomic classes have been divided into a ‘capitalist class’ and a ‘working class.’ We recognise that, in fact, there are four basic economic classes in the legitimate economy of modern, developed economies: a class who predominantly own natural resources (‘land-owners’); a class who predominantly own capital (‘capitalists’); a class who predominantly manage employees, capital and natural resources, often on behalf of others (‘managerialists’ or ‘co-ordinators’); and the working class schmoes at the bottom of the pile. Managerialists here include middle management, team-leaders, executives, fund mangers, accountants, lawyers, government bureaucrats, and others.
- Class conflict still exists in centralised states: In practice, centralised states do not eliminate class conflict at all, they simply remove the ‘capitalists’ and ‘land-owners’, and place more ‘managerialists’ in their stead.
- Socioeconomic classes are often hybridised in practice: In practice, many land-owners are also capitalists. Many managerialists own significant numbers of shares in the companies that employ them, but by no means all. In a multi-level corporation, many people may both be the ‘workers’ of those above them in hierarchy, and the ‘managers’ (i.e. managerialists) of those below. Many workers, while dependent on selling their labour, nonetheless are dependent on saved capital and land for their retirement.
- Hybridised class structure makes class conflict difficult: Which is partly why class conflict has become less prevalent in many western states.
- Reform: Unless a political system has become so dysfunctional that no reform is possible, social change should take place through education and reform. Where protest is used, protest should be nonviolent.