The Pirate Party wants to replace unemployment benefits and municipalities’ financial assistance with general financial support. We want to change tax and other rules that disadvantage small businesses. An economic policy is needed that focuses on creating value in society, not on working as many hours as possible or letting as much money as possible circulate.
Overview – The Pirate Party wants to:
- Business policy is made more humane and promotes small and micro-entrepreneurs, innovation companies and research.
- The economy is resilient and takes responsibility for future generations, and includes externalities and system services instead of ignoring them.
- The individual must have agency over his own finances, his lifestyle and his existence.
- Data, information and knowledge are considered integral parts of the economy.
The majority of today’s political parties assume that we are in an industrial economy or possibly a service economy. The Pirate Party, unlike other parties, assumes that today we live in an information economy, also called a knowledge economy, with all that that entails. From there, the party’s economic policy should be based on the conditions this entails.
In an information economy/knowledge economy, there are other value creators and value carriers than in an industrial economy or service economy. New, more abstract raw materials and products are added. Means of payment are digitized and the financial market is more virtual than it has ever been before. The threat picture to the stability of the economic system is changing, along with the solutions that can secure it.
The Pirate Party’s vision is for a flexible economy with people at the center. We have a unique opportunity to build a truly stable economy where everyone can choose how they want to live their lives.
1. A sustainable economy
Predation puts the economy out of balance and erodes or undermines its foundations. It occurs by overexploiting human and natural resources for economic gain.
Overexploitation of Natural Resources undermines the ability of future generations to live off and enjoy the same natural resources. At the same time, it erodes the economy’s physical foundations and undermines its ability to withstand crises and disruptions.
Overexploitation of human resources leads to reduced social capital through the depletion of human resources (eg through burnout, financial losses, other forms of mental illness, etc.).
Political predation can also occur – i.e. abuse of digital, human or natural resources to gain power. Examples of this are disinformation campaigns, nepotism and other forms of corruption. The damage that political exploitation causes is not always easy to see, but it is at least as dangerous to the economy as exploitation of natural resources. Political predatory exploits an already weakened social capital and then proceeds to erode it for political gain.
The result can be political polarization, reduced trust in society and other people, and the erosion of respect for society’s institutions, authorities and symbols. If allowed to continue, it will lead to an increase in corruption, abuse of power, extremism and organized crime.
Imbalance in the economic system not only leads to depletion of natural resources, but also leads to weakened social capital through depletion of human resources (e.g. via burnout, financial losses, etc.). When social capital weakens, the risk of polarization, corruption and crime increases. These factors can themselves lead to authoritarian regimes – either through excessive legislation and surveillance, or through the exploitation of polarization, corruption and crime for political gain and the undermining of political opposition.
Therefore, we want to:
§1 Remove or modernize the tools the oligopoly uses to secure its power, such as patents, copyrights, surveillance and corruption;
§2 Impose debt and lien limitations;
§3 Require transparency in the public sector;
§4 Hold corrupt politicians and officials accountable;
§5 Modernize the law on public procurement;
§6 Promote financial sector decentralization and counter usury;
§7 Hold commercial investment companies accountable for the externalities their investments generate;
§8 Promote transparency around the true principals of large corporations;
§9 Promote information literacy among the public.
2. A small-scale economy with broad competence
Today there is an imbalance between large companies and small and micro entrepreneurs. Laws, taxes, procurement criteria and other structures are designed for big business in the first place, creating invisible barriers for small and potentially innovative businesses. This leads to unequal conditions of competition in the labor market.
Small and micro entrepreneurs play an important role in the economy. They create jobs, provide important services and strengthen the local economy in smaller towns. Networks of small business owners also have a community-building function that can contribute to the diversity, flexibility and redundancy required for a resilient economy at both local and national levels.
Copyright and intellectual property rights
To protect intellectual property rights, patents and trademarks are used today. Although their purpose is to protect people and businesses from exploitation, today’s patent and trademark laws are designed in such a way that they are all too easily abused. Patent trolls can exploit the legislation to extort or defraud small businesses and individuals (often using their own patents). Big companies can use the law to block competitors – especially if they are small.
Patents are also highlighted as a preferred solution by incubators and business advisors, but there are other options – e.g. principle
n on open sources/open source code (open source). The term open source may have been coined in the IT industry, but the principle has ancient origins. Within the academic world, it has long been the practice to freely share knowledge with each other.
Even companies have used the open source principle. Nils Bolin invented the three-point seat belt in 1959 during his time at Volvo. Volvo then released the patent freely to the outside world so that anyone in the industry could install it in their vehicles. The consequence of this is that the three-point seat belt has become an industry standard that saves lives around the world. Volvo is not alone in implementing the principle. Tesla released the patents for its car batteries in 2014.
Implementing this principle of openness opens up new businesses and innovations. It strengthens development, enables decentralization and contributes to a stronger economy.
Research plays a central role in a knowledge economy. But the democratized knowledge means that research is no longer limited to large companies, authorities and academic institutions. Today, research can be conducted by anyone with the right knowledge, the right equipment and access to the internet. This democratized research creates the decentralized knowledge base needed to stimulate new, innovative companies.
Therefore, we want to:
§10 Promote the use of open source and corresponding principles in the public sector;
§11 Include training in open source principles and resources (e.g. Libre Office, Blender, GIMP, etc.) within the framework of social measures and state enterprise training (e.g. at the employment service, business center, etc.);
§12 Educate public sector stakeholders in open source principles and how to use them without opening up legal pitfalls;
§13 Modernize the evaluation of labor market measures;
§14 Modernize and supplement today’s labor market measures;
§15 Investigate the long-term impact of current labor market policy measures on the economy as a whole;
§16 Promote financing models that complement debt-based financing for entrepreneurs and that work better for smaller players.
3. A robust and sustainable economy
A resilient system is able to resist and recover from disturbances, errors and crises. An economy will be exposed to strains and crises – that is natural, but this should not mean that it becomes impossible for large parts of the population to live a dignified life.
The following elements are necessary for resilience:
- Adaptability and flexibility (agility)
Decentralization and diversity strengthen flexibility and build redundancy. Transparency strengthens trust between the population and society’s institutions, reduces the risk of corruption and ensures that objective assessments and forecasts can be made.
When resources, methods and knowledge are instead concentrated in oligopolies or heavily centralized structures, both transparency and redundancy decrease. The oligopoly thus becomes system critical and the economy loses its ability to quickly adapt to changes. The consequences of a crisis will then be enormous – and may have to be measured in both money and human lives.
Since the economy does not exist in a vacuum, its foundations must also be maintained in order for the economy to maintain its resilience.
Imbalance in the economic system (e.g. through oligopoly) not only leads to depletion of natural resources, but also leads to reduced social capital through depletion of human resources (e.g. via burnout, financial losses, etc.). When social capital decreases, the risk of polarization, corruption and crime increases. These factors can themselves lead to authoritarian regimes – either through excessive legislation and surveillance, or through the exploitation of polarization, corruption and crime for political gain and the undermining of political opposition.
This means that the economy depends on healthy human resources and vital natural resources and ecosystems in the first place. a balanced information system and a balanced currency management. In practice, this means that economic, environmental and social sustainability is necessary to have an economy that is stable enough to last for many generations.
The swarm economy – a resilient solution
One way to solve the shortcomings of today’s economy is to simply organize the economy in a different way. Digitization makes it possible to utilize self-organizing structures to a greater extent than ever before. This means that we can collaborate on a large scale without governance to achieve financial goals. It is possible to see this phenomenon in practice in all the REKO rings that have arisen around the Nordics. REKO is a people’s movement with enough momentum that it grows on its own. In a REKO ring, many small producers market their goods through dedicated group pages in social media. Consumers then order what they need and pick up their bes
counting at a predetermined time. These REKO rings complement existing food chains with decentralized options, enable small, often environmentally friendly businesses to exist, and strengthen the local economy.
A similar form of self-organization can be seen in companies working according to AGILE principles, initiatives in the sharing economy, projects in the Open Source movement, as well as complementary trading systems and currencies (LETS, time banks, WIR, Torekes, the Brixton pound, etc.).
This type of self-organization is reminiscent of the way bees and ants organize their swarms and colonies. That’s why it’s called swarming. When the economy is organized according to these principles, we get a Swarm economy.
From a resilience perspective, the Swarm economy has significant advantages over the current economic model. Its decentralized and pluralistic nature makes it flexible and creates redundancy. Since the heart of a swarm economy is human networks, it also promotes the building of social capital – something that is necessary for trust, security and a functioning democracy. Transparency is also necessary in a swarm economy. It strengthens trust between citizens and society, promotes innovative thinking and prevents corruption.
Therefore, we want to:
§17 Pursue monetary policies that strengthen economic decentralization;
§18 Remove legal, fiscal and structural barriers to economic solutions that strengthen local economies and reward unpaid work (e.g. social currencies, time banks, etc.);
§19 Modernize the regulation of electronic currencies and blockchain technology;
§20 Countering the formation of monopolies and oligopolies by limiting the tools they use to maintain their power (patents, copyrights, surveillance and disinformation;
§21 Pursue economic policies that contribute to the building of social capital by putting people at the center;
§22 Promote the creation of an open international standard for the above point;
§23 Strengthen transparency in the public sector and promote the implementation of transparency standards in the private sector.
4. An economy built on human dignity
Having an agent means more than the freedom to make your own decisions. It’s about having power over one’s existence – regardless of background, lifestyle and circumstances.
Agency has a physical component and a psychological component. The physical component consists of tangible factors such as location, functionality and financial assets. The psychological component consists of more abstract factors such as self-image, knowledge and worldview.
Lack of agency leads to frustration, bitterness and – in the long run – to mental illness. The ability to make decisions deteriorates and the need for control increases – something that increases the risk of both being exposed to crimes and of committing them yourself. Regardless of which of these outcomes occurs, it can lead to an erosion of human capital and thus an imbalance in the economy as a whole.
In order to achieve the physical conditions for agents, it is required:
- sufficient financial resources to be able to act on the alternatives that exist and the possibility of using one’s financial resources to participate in the economy (economic agency).
- full functional ability or something that compensates for temporary or permanent functional limitations (e.g. aids, medicine, assistance, etc.).
- the possibility of being able to physically move to a place with optimal conditions for one’s needs.
To achieve the psychological component is required:
- sufficient knowledge of possibilities and alternatives.
- satisfactory and correct information in general – the ability to understand the above-mentioned information.
- a belief in one’s own power to influence one’s situation and existence.
- Agency over one’s finances
The most basic prerequisite for individual agency is economic agency. There therefore needs to be acceptance and support for a wide variety of legal income-generating activities.
Today’s economy lacks adequate ways to value the unpaid work that takes place within the framework of non-profit activities, cultural activities, hobby activities or at home. Therefore, additional tools are needed that enable the value of these activities to continue to be created. One solution could be to implement a basic income, but also alternatives such as social currencies and local trading systems could be valuable. Therefore, it is important that legal and structural obstacles to their implementation are removed.
Agency over one’s lifestyle
Lifestyle choices (eg raising a family, doing volunteer work, etc.) should not be an obstacle to economic agency. The conditions for better utilizing the value in “unpaid work” can be developed through alternative trade systems, social currencies and supplements such as basic income.
Agency over one’s existence
Agency over one’s existence is about being able to change one’s circumstances – e.g. by changing careers, starting your own business, trying something new or moving to another city/country.
Profiling and agents
In a digital world, it is easier than ever to undermine people’s independence. By profiling people’s digital behaviors, this information can be used to manipulate people’s perception of reality, decision making and psychology. This undermines the agent’s psychological component, but can also affect the physical if the individual is manipulated into self-harming actions.
Therefore, we want to:
§24 Investigating the feasibility of implementing/supporting social currencies, local trading systems and the like;
§25 Introduce basic income;
§26 Strengthen the ability of vulnerable groups to resist various forms of fraud (such as attempts to recruit them as money couriers);
§27 Strengthen access to the aids that improve the ability of the permanently or temporarily disabled to participate in the economy;
§28 Introducing education about society’s various aids and safety systems in elementary school;
§29 Inform people of all their options when dealing with authorities;
§30 Change the name of the Employment Service to something that better reflects its actual mission;
§31 Modernize legislation around small-scale business;
§32 Modernize income taxation;
§33 Oppose the enactment of laws whose implementation is contrary to natural laws or inherent technological limitations;
§34 Strengthen the obligation to contract (the right to basic access to the tools of the monetary system);
§35 Pursue monetary policy that strengthens the individual’s economic agency.
5. An economy for the knowledge society
In everyday life, we think of data as specific types of information that flow in the digital world. But we humans have been using data for millennia before we invented machines that could process it for us. Reading and writing is processing data consisting of abstract symbols (ie letters/written language) to interpret information (a fairy tale, a recipe, a medical treatise, etc.). We can then refine that information to create new ideas, stories, analyzes and products. It is in the refinement of information that we generate value.
In a knowledge economy, data becomes one of our most important “raw materials.” In a refined form, data becomes information that can be used for everything from environmental analysis, research and societal benefit to manipulation, crime and warfare. What determines is which data is used, how it is handled and how it is refined/processed. Human data is particularly valuable in this regard.
With knowledge, in this context is meant the ability to process or refine data. The ability to process data is a prerequisite for functioning in society. The ability to refine data creates competitiveness and thus becomes a key skill. Both the ability to process and refine information are critical to public prosperity and economic mobility. When people gain ownership over their data and the ability to process it, their opportunities to reduce their dependence on those who control their existence increase. They thus gain an increased agency over their life and existence.
The ability to convince others to hand over their personal data becomes a decisive factor of power – just as the ownership of capital was a decisive factor of power during the industrial economy.
This opens up completely new possibilities. At the same time, there is a downside – those who cannot read and write are no longer forced to settle for the bottom scratch – they don’t even have access to the bottom scratch.
This has consequences for how we judge our fellow human beings’ intrinsic economic value (including creditworthiness) and thus their role in society. Unlike before, everyone who participates in the economy now has some form of the attractive commodity – human data. It could be seen that the human data is created through participation in the economy (directly or indirectly) and that it is owned by each individual who generates it. He is also not dependent on a bank account, a security or any form of physical property to own the raw material. All that is required is a direct or indirect participation in the economic system.
So what exactly is the value of data? At first glance, the answer may seem obvious, but as soon as you scratch the surface, the question immediately becomes more complicated. Data and information can have multiple purposes and different value depending on who uses (or abuses) it.
Although certain information or data may be considered worthless in the legitimate economy, this is not always the case in the shadow economy. Both criminal groups and hostile states can see the same data as extremely valuable because it facilitates them to commit crimes or manipulate their enemies. The value of the data must therefore be considered from a broader perspective than its immediate purpose.
Therefore, we want to:
§36 Enable everyone in society to receive a basic education that will enable them to participate in the economy;
§37 Enable those who cannot or have the opportunity to process data to participate in the economy;
§38 Operate a policy that empowers individuals over their data;
§39 Investigate and modernize methods of valuation of data.