Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Economy for the Common Good

Economy for the Common Good is an effort to make business perform better on sociological and ecological levels. While I'm not up to the intricate math of a full report and don't have employees anyhow, I do have a small business that is highly interactive and socially engaged. So let's see how that looks for PenUltimate Productions ...


The Common Good Matrix has 20 squares in the grid, showing intersections between values and stakeholders.

A1 Human dignity in the supply chain: As a general premise, I aim to treat customers and characters with respect. When I'm writing about other cultures, I try to make portrayals plausible and responsible, with attention to current issues there. I may lose points for reserving the right to mock powerful people or groups who are misbehaving, as satire is part of a bard's professional responsibility.

A2 Solidarity and social justice in the supply chain: I stand by the descendants of my many and varied ancestors. The cultures I am most prone to draw inspiration from are the ones I support most vigorously in exposure, activism, and occasional donations.

A3 Environmental sustainability and the supply chain: I stand by the planet Earth as a source of inspiration for most of my work. I am an avid environmentalist, and indeed, my nature poems often aim to incite love of nature or else they point out the tragedy of environmental losses. We donated a copy of From Nature's Patient Hands to the Douglass-Hart Nature Center. I also belong to Grand Prairie Friends, who just bought another 99 acres adjacent to Warbler Woods. \o/ Our yard is certified as a backyard wildlife habitat, which is the one area I can document as greatly exceeding the official standards. I may lose points for choosing to work on a computer (not very sustainable) more than pencil and paper (sustainable).

A4: Transparency and participation in the supply chain: I'm pretty open about what I do, and I can see who leaves prompts. I am well pleased that many of the prompts I get for under-represented or misrepresented groups come from trait-having people, like the hardcore examples of disability issues in P.I.E.

B1: Ethical position in relation to financial resources. I try to change a fair price for my work and handle recordkeeping honestly. I may lose points for sucking at math and making periodic errors, and gain points by handing off major math to people who are actually good at it. These likely balance out.

B2: Social position in relation to financial resources: I respect poor and middle class people. I do donate to charities occasionally; I can't afford to do so regularly. I respect rich people considerably less, and may lose points for this.

B3: Use of funds in relation to the environment. I do belong to some environmental organizations, and when Grand Prairie Friends does a fundraiser for land purchases, I chip in if I can -- that's how I got involved in the first place, along with their Native Plant Sale every spring.

B4: Ownership and co-determination. Well, it's a single-owner private business, so I own it. My partner Doug serves as business manager. My fans are my editors! Choice of material to be written and published is a profoundly communal process. I have actually moved the majority of my writing from conventional publishing (less collaborative) to crowdfunding (more collaborative) because I prefer the openness and interaction.

C deals with employees, which I don't have, but I do have people who help with varying aspects, so I'll use those.

C1 Human dignity in the workplace and working environment. My workplace is not very dignified, but I like it, so I'm not going to dock myself points for that. ;) I try to treat other people well when we are arranging work-trade for things I need done.

C2 Self-determined working arrangements. I'm self-employed and the people who do things for me are all independent with regard to those tasks. I'm pretty sure this exceeds most business practices except for a few places run by neurotypical geeks.

C3 Environmentally friendly behavior of staff. As above, I'm an avid environmentalist.

C4 *KABOOM*
Co-dependency and transparency within the organization. As above, crowdfunding is an open and collaborative business model. The few remaining conventional publications are less so.

D1 Ethical customer relations. I aim to treat my fans well. As I am making massively more money from poetry than anyone except the top-tier national poets who actually make most of their poetry income from the lecture circuit, my customers are indicating an overwhelming approval of my products and customer relations via their generous donations.

D2 Cooperation and solidarity with business partners. Hrm, I don't think I really have any of those.

D3 Impact on the environment on the use and disposal of goods and services. Most of my work is environmentally friendly and produces little or no waste. I do travel for work occasionally, which uses gasoline; and I can't always recycle old computer equipment, although I do so when feasible; but these are standard business practices, not below average.

D4 Customer participation and product transparency. Extremely high; most of what I write these days is based on audience prompts, and prompters customarily get a backchannel copy of their poem.

E1 Purpose of products and services and their effect on society. 1) My purposes include to educate, to enlighten, to entertain, and to equip. I seek to represent people and concepts that largely ignored or distorted in mainstream media. I describe how the world could be a better place, especially looking for replicable ideas, and I warn against foreseeable mistakes. 2) The impact on society has been negligible on a large scale, but substantial on a small scale. Readers routinely tell me that they have learned something from my writing, and occasionally that they have employed said learning to solve a real problem in their own lives.

E2 Contribution to the community: As above, social support and occasional donations apply. But most of my contributions come in the form of services; I am an avid builder of online community in general and my little corner of cyberspace in particular. For example, I have made posts on how to build community and sample online community parameters. I've been doing the latter since the mid-90s, so gosh, 20+ years now. I also host the "Good News" and "Hard Things" discussions in my blog on alternating weeks.

E3 Reduction of environmental impact. I do watch for ways to improve this, but I'm already doing what's feasible. My impact is fairly low to begin with as most of my products are cultural rather than material. I buy recycled paper if I can find good versions. One batch I got was awful and looked like newspaper, so I only ever used that for rough drafts. But nowadays I can sometimes find brilliant white, heavy-duty paper that's partly or wholly recycled. \o/

E4: Social co-determination and transparency: As above, my writing is highly collaborative and open.


The themes are weighted differently, for the determination of the total number of points in the balance calculator, depending on the following factors:
* company size
* financial flows to and from suppliers, investors and staff
* the social risks in the countries of origin of the main primary products
* industry sector and the corresponding combined environmental and social risks

Company size: Sole proprietor.

Financial flows: Almost entirely customers; I don't have literal investors or employees.

Social risks: Some of my fans live in nice places. Many do not, as I count America as unsafe nowadays. I belong to many targeted groups and much of what I write is vexing to people in power, so there is a very real -- if small -- risk that I may someday be disposed of for failure to be pleasing. Similarly some of my fans live in tenuous circumstances. I judge my risks in muckraking and satire to be less than those of soul-crushing acts of submission.

Industry sector: Mainstream entertainment doesn't score very well on environmental or social factors, although individual companies sometimes do. Global environmental risk has reached Species Imperative level due to climate change, which has already begun habitat foreclosure in some areas and is only getting worse due to human actions. Bad economic models and decisions have driven almost all of this damage. I make the best choices I can, but I cannot solve this problem as I have neither created it nor have much influence over those who have.


The contribution to the common good is assessed and scored through the Common Good Matrix. It allows a systematic examination of all activities from a 360° perspective and really focuses on the essentials:
* What impact are economic activities having on the general quality of life, today and for future generations?
* What attention is being paid to human dignity?
* Is social justice being promoted?
* Is environmental sustainability assured?
* Are business goals achieved democratically and through cooperation? How transparent is the process?
Points are only awarded for such activities, which go beyond the fulfilment of the legal minimum standard
.

Quality of life: While my work has little large-scale impact, readers consistently cite it as a profound benefit in their lives, both for emotional comfort and practical improvement of skills. You can't kill an idea, so my writing will remain to benefit future generations.

Human dignity: As above, I generally try to respect people, with the exception of satire to mock the pompous or abusive.

Social justice: I am an avid activist and often forward links to petitions or other actions. I write about many social issues. In fact if I see a new one, I check whether I've already written it (I usually have) and if not, then I write some.

Environmental sustainability: My own efforts are vigorous but insufficient. I persist in punching up, but cannot solve the problem because it is caused by people with vastly more resources. I have made fellow environmentalists cry by pointing out that no amount of backyard butterfly gardens can save monarchs when they are being killed by noxious agricultural products and deforestation in countries south of us.

Business goals: Well, they're cooperative, but I'm still in charge. The democratic aspect appears primarily in polls, which I use routinely to let fans decide on things like which free epic they want or what themes to feature. I really like participatory decision-making. But in the end, I make the final decisions about my proprietary settings. This is balanced by the fact that I have also created some open-source fandoms where I don't control the canon.


So that's me. Where are you on the matter of prosocial economics?
 
Tags: activism, economics, environment, ethnic studies, gender studies, personal, reading, writing
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