The responsibility of the consumer in the free market economy

January 1, 2020

By Willem Adrianus de Bruijn

The problem:

Its manifestation: the Earth Overshoot day

The Earth Overshoot day in this year 2019 was on July 29.

I noticed short articles and messages in the media that the more than seven billion consumers on this planet had consumed on July 29 as many natural resources as the entire planet can reproduce in the complete year. After less than a week no more information was given or comments were made in the media about the EO day.

The cause that the EO day happened and happens every year earlier in the year is the macro-economic practise of maintaining growth in the development of the free market economy. The growth figures, which exist and can be expected for economies in specific areas, like the EU, are presented in the media with at least a weekly frequency.

Growth implies to produce more. However production figures are incorporated in the growth statistics of countries only if that which had been produced was also sold. Otherwise it is taken back by the supplier and can become waste.

What is sold is bought by someone, either a final consumer or an entrepreneur who makes products for the final consumer or a producer who supplies the entrepreneur. The final consumer is the one who digests goods and services in his personal life. All of them eventually consume everything that is sold, because everything that is produced is made in a process to satisfy the demand of the final consumer.

In order to keep the development of the free market economy growing, more than seven billion consumers have to continue consuming more of the limited resources of the planet.

Every intelligent person should know that it is not possible to continue consuming more of limited resources because they will become depleted.

To maintain growth in development is not an option any longer in the management of the free market economy, if mankind wants to survive.

A solution

Reward the consumer for maintaining ways of living that leave his environment unblemished.

If all consumers spend all their money always only on goods and services that keep nature in perfect state, there would not be an ecological problem. Mankind would be living in harmony with Nature.

How to reward homo economicus in such a way that he indeed spends his money to live while keeping his surroundings in a scientifically proven sound state?

I opened the “biosustainable” market on which the consumer gets a discount on everything he buys which is equal to 30% of the ecological value of the purchased product. – Imagine that you bought a shirt of 100€. Assume that the producer has scientific proof that fifty percent of his costs of production were made for goods and services that kept nature sound. You will then receive a discount of 30% of 50€, or 15€.

I based the decision to open this market on three new concepts I founded in the science of economy.

The sense of development

The sense of development is determined by the goal with which the consumer spends his money.

As a good consumer in the present free market economy I spend my money with as goal: consume more, because I have to use up more goods and services in order to maintain growth in development.

On the “biosustainable” market I am driven by financial and personal interests, two powerful drives in human behaviour, to spend my money on products with the highest ecological content. – I will be rewarded with 30% of the price of everything I buy when it is completely nature respecting. – Producers will satisfy the demand. Producers will then also pursue the goal: keep our environment in good shape. When consumers and producers pursue the same goal, then the pursuit of this goal gives a sense to development.

Everybody has the right to decide with which goal he spends his money. It is a basic human right that enables to live in harmony with Nature, while living in harmony with each other.

It will not take that long before the macro-economic practise will be: maintaining the integrity of Nature in the development of the free market economy. This is possible on the “biosustainable” market.

The principle of utilising resources efficiently

The principle of utilising resources efficiently poses: costs should be managed at the source of the income that covers these costs in order to achieve an optimum efficiency in the utilisation of resources. This principle implies that the persons who earn the incomes should manage the costs covered by the incomes, which they earn. Producers have already proven that this principle is accurate. They deduct their costs of production from the revenues of sales of the goods and services they produce by making these costs.

Producers maximise the difference between these revenues and 3 costs, their profits, by maintaining an optimum efficiency in the utilisation of the resources in their production processes. The money they spend on these resources is namely a part of their costs of production.

The consumer earns the income of which he spends a part to maintain his ways of living. This money represents his costs of living. To achieve an optimum efficiency in the utilisation of resources in the ways of living of consumers, the costs of living have to be managed with as goal to keep nature complete.

On the “biosustainable” market the consumer will spend all his money all the time only on goods and services with the highest ecological quality, therefore with the highest efficiency in utilising resources.

The demand of these consumers for such products could cause an increase in efficiency in the utilization of resources in our ways of living of one percent, rather quickly. One percent increase in this efficiency in the lives of billions of consumers will have as a result that so much more is produced with the same input as today that there will be more than enough for everybody on this planet to live well. There will thus be no more poverty. People will therefore be sharing compatible levels of well being, so they will be sharing satisfaction. People who share satisfaction live in peace.

This will be true particularly when an optimum efficiency in the utilization of natural resources in our ways of living has been achieved.

Another Concept

The responsibility of the consumer in the operation of the free market economy is to sustain its development with as goal to safeguard the integrity of Nature for this and following generations.

This responsibility flows forth from our function in the operation of the free market economy. We absorb the goods and services that are offered on the market with the purchases we make. – If we would not buy anything, even for twenty four hours, the free market economy would stop to function or at least get a hick-up – Since we sustain development with our purchases we are the only ones who can make the free market economy meander forever in between the green borders of nature by adapting our choices how to live in giving sense to our demand. This development will inevitably lead to ways of living in harmony with Nature all over the planet. Then this sense is common good. Just imagine all more than seven billion consumers spending their money with as goal: keep nature sound, in perfect shape, complete.

We thus have a professional function in the operation of the free market economy, namely, to maintain ways of living that keep our environment in proper condition.

The consumer can exercise this function on the “biosustainable” market as a professional because he leaves an accounting of his purchases with the proofs, which producers give about the ecological quality of their goods and services. These data 4 will be analysed to inform about the development of the average percentage of the ecological content of the merchandise sold on the market, among other analyses.

The accounting of purchases by consumers with the proofs about the ecological quality of the products bought could be used to develop a “cahier des charges” for an industry that has to produce goods and services that keep Nature complete from cradle to grave.

Consequences of rewarding the consumer

Splitting of the socio-economic power

When a consumer goes shopping on the “biosustainable” market, he takes the socioeconomic power apart. He takes it apart in the social power of income of the producer and in the economic power of expense of the consumer.

The producer gives shape to society. Look around you. All the forms and volumes you see are there because producers have been paid to create them. Since producers form society, their power is a social one.

With the economic power of expense the consumer maintains ways of living that keep his environment sound by accounting with scientific proof for the ecological quality of his purchases. With the combined economic powers of their expenses, consumers can safeguard the integrity of Nature.

Ethical currents in the economy

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, integrity is defined as:

1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY

2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS

3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS

Since integrity is defined not only as something, which is sound and complete but also as having sound moral principles, the integrity of anything can be kept only with integrity.

With the economic power of his expense the consumer will sustain ethical currents in the economy, out of interests.

Other consequences of the consumer respecting Nature are presented at http://www.biosustainable.org under: more consequences.

Operation of the “biosustainable” market

To open a “biosustainable” market requires resources. One can therefore be opened wherever they are available. 5 If an interest to do so exists, I invite you to contact me so that we can come to an agreement about sharing our competencies to put a market for ways of living that safeguard the integrity of Nature into operation.

I expect that within seven years after the opening of a “biosustainable” market, the development of the economy around it will cover a steadily increasing area. That economy will be the most thriving one. It will be a cradle of a development that progresses by hugging the walls of Nature.

Hoeilaart, 1 January 2020 Willem Adrianus de Bruijn

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