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Sumak kawsay socialism or republican bio socialism digital

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Sumak kawsay socialism or republican bio socialism digital

  1. 1. Sumak Kawsay Socialism or Republican Bio-socialism René Ramírez Gallegos Secretary for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation
  2. 2. or Republican Bio-socialism Sumak Kawsay Socialism 2014 René Ramírez Gallegos Secretary for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation
  3. 3. INDEX 1. Introduction: What are constitutions? 2. Background: The Constitutional History of Exclusion 3. Conservatism, radicalism and constitutional liberalism 4. Towards a post-Rawlsian and post-utilitarian social justice 5. On the information base: sumak kawsay or Buen Vivir 6. Towards a sumak kawsay socialism or republican (egalitarian) bio- socialism 7. Ecuador as “bio-polis”: Constructing a new bio-strategy for accumulation and re-distribution 8. Towards a bio-centric society, free of inequality and envy Bibliography 7 9 12 14 19 21 34 42 45 Diagramming and Design Communication Department of Secretariat for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation
  4. 4. 5 1. Introduction: What are constitutions? One of the most often used examples in political philosophy in order to illustrate the meaning of constitutions is the story of Ulysses and the Sirens. After visiting awhile in Circe’s palace, Ulysses sets off on his return to Ithaca. The goddess warns him that his first challenge will be to prevent himself from being seduced by the Sirens’ song. To do this, Ulysses covers the ears of his sailors with wax after ordering them to tie him to the ship’s mast. Thus, when Ulysses begs them to untie him, his companions remain deaf to his demands. Constitutionsarerestrictionsandprecommitmentsthatsocietiesputuponthemselves in order to achieve their desired objectives. The rope and the wax demanded by Ulysses are similar to these restrictions; the will to tie oneself up and not hear the Sirens’ song are precommitments by Ulysses and the sailors so as not to give into the Sirens’ seduction and in order to be able to achieve their desired ends. Just like Ulysses, societies aim to define a course of action and protect themselves from thoughtless future actions (Elster, 2002: 20). Through such mechanisms as cost increases, a society restricts itself and diminishes uncertainty. In this sense, a constitutional change implies a new pact of coexistence in which the parts consent to fulfill certain agreements and accept certain restrictions. Basing itself on this idea, and by utilizing political philosophy, this document attempts to outline the terms of the social contract implicit within the Ecuadorian constitution of 1998. Afterwards, Ecuador’s new Constitution, ratified in 2008, is analyzed in order to establish whether it presents a radical change from its predecessor or not. The typology and objective of the pact are analyzed. This document has been organized into seven sections. After this brief introduction, there follows a concise description of the Ecuadorian constitutions and their history, as well as a classification of the principal constitutional types in order to locate historically what type of society was sought with the 1998 proposal. Given that, in terms of distributive justice, the most developed liberal proposal is the theory of Rawls, the fourth section attempts to respond to the question of whether the 2008
  5. 5. 7 2. Background: The Constitutional History of Exclusion In analyzing theories of justice, two questions normally arise: “who designs the principles of justice?”, and, “for whom are these principles designed?” These questions are here answered through the history of constitutional processes. In Ecuador, this is a history of exclusionary processes: constitutional principles haven’t had as their end the Buen Vivir of all, but rather the privileging of certain groups. According to the historian Juan Paz y Miño (2007), the Ecuadorian constitutions between 1830 and 1929 guaranteed a landowner-oligarchic republic. During this period, wealth was converted into a mechanism for maintaining power, and the State guaranteed the reproduction of the oligarchies. Composed of 75 articles, the Constitution of 1830 left in place an exclusionary and racist society: Article 12.- In order to enjoy the benefits of citizenship, the following is required: 1. To be married, or older than 22 years of age; 2. To own property, the free value of 300 pesos and to have some profession or useful industry without being subject to another, such as a domestic servant or laborer; 3. To be able to read and write. With these restrictions, approximately 90 percent of the then-population could not enjoy such rights. Moreover, article 68 left intact various forms of discrimination and domination of indigenous groups. Article 9 of the constitutions of 1835, 1843, 1845 and 1852, and Article 8 of the constitution of 1851, would contain the exact same text as article 12 of the 1830 Constitution, with the exception that they would lower the “free value” to 200 pesos. It was not until after the 1861 Constitution that these clauses finally disappeared, although the clause that stated that people must be able to “read and write” still remained a requirement for the enjoyment of citizenship. In the 1864 Constitution, it was also established that citizens were only “those male Ecuadorians that know how to read and write and have turned 21 years of age” (article 9). This requirement did not disappear until 1979, which is no minor fact when one considers that, for example, forty-four percent of the population was illiterate in 1950, and that even in the early 1980s, one in every four Ecuadorians could neither 6 constitutional proposal is post-Rawlsian and post-utilitarian. In the fifth section, the new coexistence pact is described along with its philosophical axis, sumak kawsay or Buen Vivir 1 . In the sixth section, this new social pact, an (egalitarian) republican bio-socialist commitment—or sumak kawsay socialism—, is discussed. The seventh section then proposes a new bio-accumulation and redistribution strategy for the country, on the assumption that a new coexistence pact will be impossible to implement if the current strategy is left unaltered. Finally, the last section synthesizes the current challenges facing the implementation of this new social pact. Sumak Kawsay Socialism 1 Translator’s note: The Spanish term Buen Vivir and the Quichua term sumak kawsay are relatively equivalent and literally mean “good living”. In the context of the Citizens’ Revolution government, they have been used to signify the concept of integral good living.
  6. 6. Sumak Kawsay Socialism Republican Bio-socialism 98 fulfill. The openness of the Ecuadorian economy during the period of liberalization did not lead to an increase in demand for its most abundant factor, unskilled labor, but instead increased demand for more highly skilled labor (Vos, Taylor and Páez de Barro, 2002). This led to an increase in the salary gap between skilled and unskilled workers—the latter of which became part of the informal sector—and contributed to an increase in income concentration and greater inequality. Currently, the richest 10 percent of Ecuadorians account for 42 percent of total income, while a little more than half of the population cannot fully satisfy their basic needs, and one in five Ecuadorians live in consumption poverty. It is no accident that public social security coverage has decreased, a clear indicator of the gradual reduction in social citizenship: a mere 14 percent of the country’s poorest decile has access to coverage while for those within the richest decile, some 53 percent have access. In summary, a review of the country’s constitutions reveals how, starting in the colonial period, exclusion and inequality have deepened within Ecuador. This shift away from a society of privilege for the few and towards an egalitarian society—for all and with respect for diversity—is perhaps the greatest virtue of the 2008 Constitution. read nor write. This restriction excluded somewhere between a fourth and half of the population from the political community. Other forms of exclusion and discrimination based on religion, gender and ethnic origin were also perpetuated. In the “Black Letter” of 1869, issued by President García Moreno, individuals had to be Catholic in order to be considered citizens. Moreover, slavery was abolished only 22 years after the country’s first constitution, and it was only with the 1929 Constitution that women were to enjoy both citizenship and suffrage. Discrimination also dominated in the echelons of power. For example, in order to be president, vice president or an elected official, one had to own property or receive a certain level of rent (Paz y Miño, 2007). Following the Liberal Revolution at the end of the 19th century, the Ecuadorian state underwent modernization and there were significant advances in the field of rights. However, it was not until the Julian Revolution of 1925 that the statist compromise— in which the state acted as the guarantor of oligarchic-landowner power—was finally broken and replaced by a period of state-driven economic interventionism, in which political and civil rights were further advanced. These social rights, however, were only guaranteed for formal workers. Thus, the Julian Revolution opened the country up to an international environment of capitalist modernization and, in doing so, gave form to a developmentalist state. While there were important qualitative advances in the sphere of civil and political rights within the 1998 Constitution, it also consolidated a model in which, within the social and economic fields, the formal worker and the consumer with acquisitive power become the subjects of rights. The businessman becomes the motor of change and is charged with stimulating the economy and distributing wealth through the use of the market. Empirical evidence suggests that this role was too big for the business sector to
  7. 7. Biosocialismo republicano 11 The guiding principle of the utilitarian perspective is the summation of individual utilities as a measure of social well-being. Policies and institutions are selected and prioritized according to the value of the sum of the individual utilities that they create. Utilitarianism appeals to majority rule in order to choose the best option between different policies, and the variable to be maximized is consumption. Historically, radical constitutions have not existed in Ecuador. Those with a conservative nature have been more prevalent, followed by more liberal constitutions with strong utilitarian influences. In a country with large social injustices, the failure to foster real equality in order to permit the flourishing of citizens is symptomatic of falling into a conservative social proposal. In this sense, while the 1998 Constitution had certain liberal virtues within the field of rights, it was utilitarian in the socio-economic area, libertarian in other areas, while also containing conservative elements, given that rights were principally subject to the wealth (and hence acquisitive power) of the individual. Ecuador’s new constitutional project should therefore be understood as a rupture with previous paradigms, since it seeks to create a social pact based on republican bio-socialism. 3. Conservatism, Radicalism and Constitutionalism 10 Within the historical constitutional perspective there are three general paradigms: conservative, radical and liberal constitutions (Gargarella, 2005). Conservative constitutions: have their basis in a political presence based on moral perfectionism or political authoritarianism. The constitutional organization focuses on the concentration of power and on strengthening of executive authority. Rights depend on the conception of what is good, which is determined according to religion, wealth and gender. Conservatism defends the thesis that there are adequate models for living, independent of individual opinion. An example of this form of constitution would be that promoted by García Moreno in 1869. Radical constitutions: radicalism is based on strengthening the authority of citizens, which implies taking into account the demands of local actors. Its posture is summarized in the dictum: “the voice of the people is the voice of God”; it seeks to assure greater opportunities for debate and in such a way that rights are primarily oriented according to the demands and needs of the majority. While there is recognition of individual rights, social majorities may impose their authority over even the most basic demands of specific individuals. Liberal constitutions: are based on limiting and equalizing the branches of government—that is, on the separation of the three branches of power and seeking their equilibrium through effective counterbalancing. The liberal concept may be summarized as: “neither the dictatorship of one, nor the authoritarianism of many”. Public debate is limited to that between branches of government, and there is an individualist conception of rights in which they are not dependent on the convenience of others. Moreover, there is a nearly sacred vision of property rights, and individual liberty depends only on the will and principles of each person. On the other hand, while in recent decades constitutions in Ecuador and Latin America have been judicially liberal within the field of civil and political rights, it is important to indicate that they have also had utilitarian tones in terms of economics.
  8. 8. Biosocialismo republicano 13 advantages is not achieved in this way” (1999:124). The focal point of the Rawlsian construction is the design of a situation of rational deliberation for the collective selection of justice principles, from an equitable “original position”. “The rational character of a conception of social justice would not consist in its agreement with a presumed sphere of previous and independent moral truths, but rather its susceptibility to being agreed upon according to a certain procedure” (Rodilla, 1999: 19). From this perspective, valid principles of justice would be those that can unanimously be agreed upon by rational, free and equal individuals who are in an equal original position and are seeking to protect their interests. In this way, Rawlsian justice theory proposes two principles. The principle of basic equal liberties guarantees the equal elevation of all citizens’ fundamental civil liberties to the highest level (Rawls, 1999: 79). The second principle is divided into two: The principle of equal opportunity of access to social positions and the difference principle. In this framework, “a just society is a society in which institutions divide primary social goods in an equitable way between members, taking into account the fact that there are variations between members in terms of natural primary goods” (Hernández, 2006: 190) 3 . Under this conceptual framework, an institution is that which creates the necessary conditions so that people do not have to depend upon the chance circumstances of their lives. In order to achieve this individuals must be made equal by giving them equal access to primary social goods. The second principle is based on producing 3 Rawls understands natural primary goods as those whose distribution is not directly under the control of social institutions, such as health and personal talents. In contrast, primary social goods are those “things that all rational men want”, and include “rent and wealth”, “basic liberties”, “freedom of movement and to choose their occupation”, “powers and prerogatives over positions of responsibility” and the “social goods necessary for self-respect.” 4. Towards a post-Rawlsian and post-utilitarian social justice 12 All constitutions contain an implicit form of a specific notion of social justice. The principle of social justice sustained by the 1998 Constitution is based on Rawlsian and (neo-)utilitarian theory, which permits the establishment of criteria for gauging distributive justice, of guidelines that orient or make reference to how society will distribute scarce resources. What are utilitarian and Rawlsian justices? The theory of John Rawls, one of the most influential in political philosophy, is derived from a radical criticism of utilitarian justice theory. Utilitarianism is based on two principles: the first supposes the equal consideration of the utilities of all individuals; the second is based on the principle of decreasing marginal utility. Thus, utilitarian justice depends on the maximization of total individual utilities and affirms that the maximization of aggregate well being necessarily requires rent redistribution due to the principle of marginal utility 2 . Nevertheless, the order of individual well- beings does not justify distributive measures, since what matters is aggregate well- being; hence abandoning redistributive policies would be advised if these were deemed to affect economic growth. According to utilitarianism, a society is just when its institutions are articulated in such a way as to achieve the greatest “sum of satisfactions”. Rawls’ principal criticism towards this perspective is that within the utility principle, “it does not matter, except indirectly, how this sum of satisfactions is distributed among individuals any more than it matters […] how one man distributes his satisfactions over time. It simply happens that under most conditions […] that the greatest sum of 2 Marginal utility is understood as the increase in total utility that produces the last income unit received by each person. Given that this marginal utility is greater in the poor than in the wealthy, redistribution should occur.
  9. 9. Sumak Kawsay Socialism Republican Bio-socialism 1514 In articles 23, 47, 50, 53, 57, 60 and 66 of the 1998 Constitution, disabilities are considered only in terms of the failure of welfare, the prevention and elimination of barriers, and the provision of social security to people with them. Beyond being given equal treatment before the law, people with disabilities are not considered genuinely equal. In the 2008 Constitution, assistance for people with disabilities is guaranteed but not as a principal question of the social contract. In addition to those pre-existing liberties, the new Constitution also focuses on equal treatment, the social inclusion of people with disabilities, and equality of opportunity (see articles 11 and 330). Moreover, the new Constitution has a specific section on disabilities (sixth section of Chapter III), whose principles are transversal. On nationality As Nussbaum indicates, another problem within the social contract tradition has to do with the influence of birthplace on the life opportunities of each individual. In contrast with the 1998 Constitution, which places emphasis on market liberalization and capital flows (article 244), the new proposal instead seeks an endogenous development and intelligent insertion into the world market. Priority is given to the protection of the national producer or investor, within the framework of seeking global justice. This effort is based on the real absence of an equality of conditions at origin: for example, the right to proper nutrition cannot be guaranteed within the current unjust and unequal system of international trade. It is no accident that the 1998 Constitution uses the term “food security” rather than “food sovereignty”. In contrast, the third chapter of title VI of the new Constitution is dedicated to food sovereignty. Moreover, the new constitutional text regards human mobility and universal citizenship as of central importance. Rights and responsibilities are not only for Ecuadorian citizens but for all humans living within Ecuadorian territory (article 9), the greatest possible benefit for those less fortunate (equity). The following section describes Martha Nussbaum’s criticism of the limits of Rawls’ proposal. A Post-Rawlsian Constitution Both Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen propose using “capabilities” as sources of value judgment information. “Capabilities” are the fundamental liberties necessary in order to achieve the life we value. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to take into account the relevant personal characteristics that determine the conversion of primary goods into the personal capabilities necessary to achieve this goal (Sen, 1999: 99). There are four problems within this framework that remain difficult to address using Rawls’ conception of justice: that of determining what is owed to people with disabilities (whether temporary, permanent, mental or physical); that of justice beyond national borders; that of determining what is owed to animals and the rest of nature; and finally the problem of saving for future generations (Nussbaum, 2006: 42). The proposal put forward by the American philosopher in order to overcome the problems of Rawls’ theory is explained below, and then an analysis of Ecuador’s new Constitution in order to see how it aligns with the said proposal is undertaken. On disabilities Rawls’ doctrine assumes that contractual agents are citizens more or less equal in their capabilities. People with disabilities are not considered part of the public sphere, are not treated as equals, and are left with their voices unheard. The 1998 Constitution does not explicitly guarantee the public participation of disabled people. In contrast, the current Constitution seeks to guarantee the public participation and representation of people with disabilities (art. 48, section 4).
  10. 10. Sumak Kawsay Socialism 16 17 The information base is the key variable that society utilizes in order to realize its value judgments, prioritize actions and distribute limited goods. While in the 1998 Constitution, the information base consisted of those rights in the political and civil fields, in practice the key variable was economic growth measured through money (income/consumption), along with the guarantee of some social minimums necessary for survival 4 . The rules of distribution were governed by the free market and social welfare policies. The current Constitution utilizes the notion of “Buen Vivir” as its information base: a concept based not only on the value of “having” but also in “being,” “doing” and “feeling”; on good living and living fully. Implicit within the definition of Buen Vivir is the complex, nonlinear, living but historically constructed nature of the concept which, as a result, is in constant redefinition. We can nevertheless, however, attempt to summarize what we mean by Buen Vivir or sumak kawsay as that which involves the satisfaction of necessities, the attainment of both a dignified quality of life and a dignified death, of loving and being loved, and of the healthy advancement of all in peace and harmony with nature in order to ensure the continued existence of human cultures and biodiversity. Buen Vivir or sumak kawsay assumes a certain amount of free time for contemplation and emancipation. It maintains that the real liberties, opportunities, capabilities and potentials for individuals and collectives can grow and flourish only insofar as they correspond to the values and desired objectives (both materially as well as subjectively and without producing any form of domination) held by all societies, territories, individuals, and diverse collective identities—each seen as both a universal as well as a specific human or collective being. Our concept of Buen Vivir obliges us to reconstruct the public sphere and the commons in order to recognize ourselves, understand ourselves and value ourselves and others—as well as nature—as diverse but equal, with the goal of making possible reciprocity and 5. On the information base: Sumak Kawsay or Buen Vivir 4 In the utilitarian liberal (neoliberal) period, it is necessary to warn that, in the strictest sense, the focal (utilitarian) economic variable took supremacy over the liberal part. When it was necessary to choose between the two perspectives, the utilitarian economic view was imposed. as well as for those Ecuadorians living in other parts of the world, for whom equal treatment is also promoted. In contrast to the 1998 project, the new Constitution also gives the right to migration (article 40), and in this sense, the proposed form of socialism in the new coexistence pact is post-national. On the rights of nature and future generations In the traditional literature on justice, one tends to hear that only those that can fulfill their obligations are subjects of rights. If this is the case, neither future generations nor nature can enjoy rights. The 2008 Constitution, in contrast with any other around the world, extends justice through time to future generations as well as throughout nature to other species beyond the human (see articles 71 and 317). The protection of the environment is affirmed not only by the right of future generations to enjoy a healthy environment, but also because of nature’s own intrinsic importance. With this Constitution, and by considering nature as a subject of rights, we move from an anthropocentric to a bio-centric ethic in which the role of human beings is that of a member of the living community. Human development should not be a threat to the integrity of nature nor to the survival of other species given that, in addition to the inherent value of nature, its indiscriminate exploitation would risk the reproduction of human life. Bio-centrism is fundamental if we are to understand the difference between the classic development viewpoint and that of sumak kawsay, Buen Vivir or the full life. The proposed coexistence pact is in this sense post-socialist, a form of bio-socialism, as will be explained below.
  11. 11. 19 6. Towards sumak kawsay socialism or (egalitarian) republican bio-socialism The new social contract is post-Rawlsian and post-utilitarian. Merely stating this is not, however, sufficient in order to properly show its core principles. In order to do this, the following sections will analyze the new justice criteria being proposed. In the literature on justice theory, all social contracts stem from the idea that “the principles of justice are those principles that free and rational people interested in promoting their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality” (Rawls, 1999: 11). One virtue of the new Constitution is its recognition of the historical processes of natural degradation, discrimination, and the chasm today separating Ecuadorians as a result of these. In this sense, it is necessary to shed the principles of a liberal-utilitarian society for those of a republican (egalitarian) bio-socialism 6 . As previously mentioned, in terms of rights and the question of distribution, the 1998 Constitution is liberal-Rawlsian in its reference to civil and political rights, while in economic terms it is utilitarian. The 2008 Constitution instead proposes the construction of a republican bio-egalitarianism that is based on guaranteeing the rights of nature and the construction of a bio-centric ethic, erasing undignified social chasms, eliminating racism and forms of exclusion, seeking a non-dominated positive liberty—in addition to defending the principle of negative liberty. Towards this goal, citizens and collectives enjoy republican responsibility, spaces for deliberation and participation, recognition of plural lifestyles, self-realization through self-government and civic virtue, and the construction of a pluri-national, intercultural and non- patriarchal state and society. Why “bio”? Without a doubt, one of the biggest criticisms of capitalism has come from the fields 6 In the case of Ecuador, if we consider historical examples it can be speculated that it will be first necessary to construct a post-neoliberal society—a first step that some Latin American countries are now attempting—, then a popular capitalism or market socialism and, finally, a republican bio-socialism. Sumak Kawsay Socialism 18 mutual recognition, and thereby achieving self-realization and the construction of a shared social future 5 . 5 Which also includes taking into account not only future generations, but also historically excluded generations. That is why Buen Vivir not only includes subjective and tangible well-being, but also intangible well-being. For example, leisure and the enjoyment of free time are considered essential for the enjoyment of a dignified life—which can be seen in articles 24, 66 and 383 in the new Constitution—.
  12. 12. Sumak Kawsay Socialism 20 Republican Bio-socialism 21 the environment as a public, common and, indeed, global good. In this sense, the new coexistence pact is post-anthropocentric and trans-statist 7 . The best example of this effort is Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT initiative, which, as well as aiming to diminish pollution, also seeks to avoid producing it, to ensure oil remains underground. The greatest possible benefit of the initiative would be raising international recognition of the value of doing nothing. This would necessarily imply the recognition of the true meaning of a global, public and common good such as nature; the value of global collective action and of “non-accumulation”; and that life yesterday, life today and life in the future is all of equal value 8 . Why an egalitarian social pact? First, the new constitution is egalitarian because it seeks political justice. This is especially relevant if we take into account the fact that Ecuador has the greatest levels of legislative over-representation within Latin America. The new Constitutional project seeks a form of representation that respects the principle of “one citizen, one vote”, and alternation and parity in the numbers of male and female candidates (see article 116). Moreover, the 2008 text proposes a more horizontal relationship between representatives and those represented. It assumes political life consists of more than merely the relationships between political organs, it supports extra-parliamentary practices in order to meet social demands, and it establishes more opportunities and spaces for debate while assuring a stricter control of both public and private spheres 7 While it is problematic to attempt this through the State, it can be considered post-statist in the sense that, while it will perhaps not cause a response in government centers (as was seen in the last forum on climate change in Denmark), it will be promoted through global social movements and provoke a behavior change amongst an environmentally-conscious citizenry. 8 The compensation asked for by Ecuador in exchange for leaving the oil underground is a simple pretext within this framework, since really it is aiming at a much larger goal: it seeks to achieve that in global environmental or climate change summits there is recognition of the value of not only decreasing pollution but also avoiding the production of it, which would show a change in global values. The 2009 Copenhagen summit clearly showed that this change in values is still very far off: the quest for global power still takes precedent over the quest for sustainability and the reproduction of life. of environmentalism and environmental economics. The economy cannot be seen as a mere closed circuit between commodity producers and consumers who are coordinated by the market through prices. In reality, it is instead necessary to see “the economy as an entropic flow of energy and materials, which absorbs exterior finite resources and which creates waste (unused heat, non-recyclable materials)” (Martínez-Alier & Schlüpmann, 1991: 156). Through this framework, capitalism, in any form, is unsustainable in terms of guaranteeing the reproduction of life. As previously indicated, the new Ecuadorian Constitution presents as part of its general framework the “rights of nature” in chapter seven, in addition to containing other articles that make allusion to the environmental rights of citizens, linked with the concept of sumak kawsay. Nature or Pachamama, the sphere in which life is reproduced and realized, has the right to have its existence integrally respected and to have its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes preserved (article 71). Since nature is now itself a rights-holder, the new coexistence pact is not only between community members, but between these and the environment; or, said another way, between human beings seen as a part of nature. In this framework, nature is not incorporated as a function of human rights but rather has its own rights. Thus, intergenerational justice exists not only for human generations but also for those of other species. As Gudynas states (2009: 39), the recognition of the intrinsic value of nature is one of the central tenets in the construction of a society centered on a bio-centric ethic. With it, we seek to destroy the anthropocentric (which is inherent to modernity and defined by its instrumentalist values of use, benefit and advantage) and productivist posture that dominates under capitalism. As part of the construction of this bio-centric ethic it is also necessary to recuperate a trans-statist perspective in regards to the environmental problem, acknowledging
  13. 13. Sumak Kawsay Socialism Republican Bio-socialism 2322 A sixth aspect has to do with the construction of an egalitarian impartial justice system for all. This is principally achieved through the recuperation of the public sphere, of social rights that ensure a public defense is accessible to all, as well as the official recognition of the plurality of justices (see article168, paragraph 4, and article191). Finally, the new Constitution promotes socio-economic justice so as to confront inequality in all its forms (Ramírez, 2008). In order to achieve this, it calls for the reduction of the large social and economic gaps through two processes: (equitable) redistribution and distribution. This is visible in fiscal, tributary and social public policies, as well as through access to the means of production (see article 3 paragraph 5; article 281 paragraph 4; article 285; article 300 paragraph 2; article 334). Nevertheless, (re-)distribution on its own is insufficient given that, although it improves the situation of the poorest groups, it does not fundamentally change power relations or the productive structure, and thus rarely reduces social gaps (Ramírez, 2008). In this sense, the new Constitution is an invitation to “produce while redistributing” and “distribute while producing”, to encourage distribution during the very process of wealth creation (see articles 276 and 284, paragraph 1). This proposal emphasizes endogenous development in order to construct a social and solidary economy that intelligently articulates with the world market. The constitution proposes the creation of an internal social and solidary economy — a model that does not deny the existence of the market, but rather subordinates it to the reproduction of life and other forms of organization and production. The social and solidary economy “recognizes the human being as a subject and an end”, and proposes the creation of a dynamic relationship between the State and society that enables the realization of Buen Vivir (see article 283). It is not just a question of (re-) distribution, however, but also of guaranteeing human rights in order to consolidate a more egalitarian and democratic society. The social and solidary economy then proposes by the citizenry and collectives. In the same way, it seeks to democratize corporatism as a medium through which groups not capable of collective action can be publicly heard, which is visible for example in its creation of “Councils for Equality” (article 156). Moreover, the new Constitution enables collectives to become rights-holders (article 10). A third example of the Constitutional State’s egalitarian character under the new social contract is that rights are affected by actions and omissions of both state and non-state actors. A fourth point has to do with the document’s reassertion of inter-generational justice and its recognition of the “diverse but equal” principle. The new Constitution takes into account the injustices of the past as well as those facing future generations. The recognition of the plurinational and intercultural State is perhaps one of the principal egalitarian achievements of the new coexistence pact. Among other elements, it includes the affirmation of Quichua and Shuar as official languages (article 2), the possibility of organizing territories in order to preserve ancestral culture, the recognition of collectively owned land by communes (article 60), and the state guarantee that indigenous justice will be respected by public institutions (article 171). In this respect, inter-generational justice not only involves correcting historical injustices but also instilling and upholding a social and individual behavioral ethic that can foster a Buen Vivir of equal or greater quality for future generations. A fifth aspect demonstrating the egalitarianism of the new Constitution is the territorial reconfiguration that, by seeking to create autonomous areas, creates intermediate, polycentric and equilibrated governments. With articles 251 through to 269, the Constitution creates the conditions for the construction of autonomous and solidary regions articulated into a single, national project. The horizontalization of the country is indispensable if those geographical barriers that have promoted regionalism and exclusion are to be excluded.
  14. 14. Sumak Kawsay Socialism Republican Bio-socialism 2524 guarantees reproductive rights (in article 332), for example, facilitates the realization of the egalitarian spirit in other spheres. The new coexistence pact in effect emphasizes the construction of other living worlds different from those proposed by Western civilizational models, which are principally focused on the realms of economics, production and consumption. The new pact upholds a broader perspective that aims to transform social relations. It is also emancipatory in the sense that it frees up time for creative leisure, for eroticism, for art and artisanal work, for personal discovery and existential investigation, for study, for travel, for democratic participation, for get-togethers and celebrations, for taking care of others and the environment, for communal mingas 9 . All of this can only occur when the basic needs of society and individuals are taken care of, when a more dignified and egalitarian society is achieved within the framework of seeing the human being as a constitutive being that is within nature and not separated from it. Linked with this must be the abolishment of the sexual division of labor and a new equilibrium in the social division of time that reduces the importance of work to the benefit of other dimensions of human existence (Riechmann & Recio, 1999: 110). This new Constitution can also be understood as an attempt to change certain principles of coexistence. As Jean-Pierre Dupuy (1998) indicates, the values on which capitalist society is based include envy, selfishness and inequality, which are inscribed in a system in which decisions are based upon price and which upholds a private property system where there is unequal access to the means of production. This system demeans individuals, who, now motivated only by greed, view their neighbors instrumentally as either a source of wealth or a threat, and where inequality is deemed necessary to instigate creativity, to compete and to grow (Ovejero 2005:83). 7 Translator’s note: Minga is a Quichua term for a communal work meeting or party in which community members work together on a common project. …a way of creating an economy that organizes production, distribution, circulation and the consumption of goods and services in an associative and cooperative way, not based on private gain but rather on meeting the needs of, and seeking a high quality of life for, all participants, their families and communities, in collaboration with other communities in order to meet the material necessities and establish fraternal and solidary social ties, the responsible management of natural resources, and a respect for future generations, through the consolidation of harmonic and long-lasting social links between communities, and without exploiting foreign labor (Coraggio, 2007a and 2007b). The path to achieving the social and solidary economy is through changing the current market society’s monopoly over the means of production, in which owners have control over work processes and production and which prevents workers from freely exercising their values, alienating them from their capabilities and the product of their labor. The new proposal appeals to the in situ development of the laborer, to the sharing of property rights, and to cooperation in all parts of the productive process. It is based on the premise that “the distribution structure is completely determined by the productive structure” (Marx cited by Fleischacker, 2003: 97). This is articulated in the proposal for an insertion within the global market through a sovereign trade policy (see article 304). Within this framework, it may be said that egalitarianism does not have as its goal the State, but rather society and collectives. The social and solidary economy is not part of, but exists alongside, the market and, as such, foments other, broader forms of organization and property such as state property, large national property, republican property, communitarian property, social property and capitalist property. Within this framework, it is necessary to consider all combinations of property and the organizational forms that arise from them. Nevertheless, the (re-)distributive process must extend beyond the productive sphere. Egalitarianism also involves the fair distribution of all work, not just that done by paid employees, who are the sole beneficiaries under the current system. It aims to create solidarity in all aspects of daily life. The mere fact that the new Constitution
  15. 15. Sumak Kawsay Socialism 26 Republican Bio-socialism 27 An individual that “chooses” between two miserable jobs, who has no social protection, nor any other work options, is not free. Neither is a woman that gives birth to her children at home because she has no option of choosing trained assistance. Neither is the person forced to migrate, and, in doing so, experiences familial fragmentation, uprootedness, and rupture. In the new Constitution, civil rights become rights of liberty (see, for example, paragraph 4 of article 66 and article 48). b. Participation and deliberation as additional procedures of citizen interaction A republican democratic State requires political institutions and public management methods that leave room for public deliberation, public participation in decision- making, and the social control of state action. The vision that the new Constitution promotes is seen in title IV, articles 95 through to 111. The fourth section, which refers to direct democracy, is particularly pertinent and establishes a fifth power called the “Citizen Participation and Social Control Council” (fifth chapter, second section, art. 207). One of the motivating principles in the classical economics of capitalist well being refers to the principle of “Pareto optimal” 10 . Nevertheless, given external characteristics such as inherited wealth, the environment and differences in personal characteristics, allocation methods cannot be determined by ad hoc characteristics such as efficiency, efficacy, and optimality; and it is for this reason that the new social pact of the 2008 Constitution calls into question one of the central principles of capitalism. Instead of seeking “optimal solutions,” it tries to prioritize, as a society, 10 This concept has been a reference point through which distribution and allocation models have been defended around the world. It is said that a wealth distribution is “Pareto optimal” when any individual can increase their utility without diminishing that of another. The new constitutional proposal for coexistence seeks to construct a continuum of relations in which members of society are recognized as ends (and not means) and as integral parts of a social and political community. The elimination of oppressive inequalities and the construction of equalities are sine qua non conditions to make possible the cooperation, solidarity, mutual recognition and desire to create a shared future that are necessary for the achievement of Buen Vivir. Why a republican Constitution? The new Constitution proposes creating a republican society that expands negative liberty to construct a positive liberty, considered as non-domination and the empowerment of individual capabilities. The following are necessary in order to achieve this: to have sufficient material resources; to have citizens with republican responsibility that autonomously outline their preferences and needs, and to institutionalize spaces for participation and deliberation, where arguments can be aired and each citizen is able to defend their position. Likewise, while republicanism holds that liberty is assured by participation in the public sphere, without civic virtue this participation is non-existent. As indicated by Rousseau, republican citizens, “far from paying to get out of their duties, are disposed to pay in order to fulfill them” (Rousseau, 1969: 105). The premises under which the new Constitution is labeled ‘republican’ are explained below. a. Liberty and/or self-realization as the non-interference, non-domination and expansion of human and social potential Moving beyond the liberal concept, the new coexistence paradigm is a result of conceiving liberty as the realization of each individual’s potential, as long as the potentials of all citizens are also realized (Ovejero, 2006: 133). The liberty of all makes possible the liberty of each, and vice versa. Beyond viewing liberty as based solely on non-interference, it is also conceived of positively, in that liberty necessarily excludes domination and exploitation.
  16. 16. Sumak Kawsay Socialism Republican Bio-socialism 2928 expenditure (see articles 288 and 289). Part of making public what is hidden involves demonstrating how all that is in the private arena produces relations of domination or subordination between human beings (see article 66), such as is evident in the historic relations between men and women. On the other hand, it is necessary to recuperate the concept of the public sphere as a social-collective construction both of and for the common good. In this sense, what is public “is of interest or common utility for all members of the political community, connecting collectives and authorities to that from which they spring” (Rabotnikof, 1995: 9-10). The new Constitution proposes the promotion of civic virtue so that citizens may contribute to the creation of laws, to decision-making and to taking over public responsibilities. One of the articles that explicitly establishes the notion of citizens’ public responsibility is to be found in article 278. Finally, it is necessary to recuperate the concept of the public sphere as necessarily linked to common spaces in which encounters between citizens can occur; that is, non-exclusionary spaces which are open to all. Perhaps the best effort in this sense is the establishment of universal, public and free policies within the fields of justice, health, education, social security, as well as others (see, for example, articles 356 and 367). This perspective implies thinking of the public sphere from the perspective of a certain return of the State but always in relation to the role of civil society. The Constitution recuperates State intervention for purposes of regulation, control, planning, re-distribution and in the guaranteeing of rights. This is seen in title VI of the Economic Regime and in title VII of the Buen Vivir Regime. At the same time, one must think of the public sphere from the new position of the development areas and policy dimensions that are the most cost-effective in social, economic and environmental terms in order to achieve objectives and arrive at “compromise solutions” (Martínez-Alier & O’Connor, 1996). The participation between equal actors permits the prioritizing of interests and objectives according to a series of publicly-defined criteria. While the prior Constitution affirms that planning must be participatory, it failed to institutionalize the spaces necessary to make this possible. In contrast, the new Decentralized System of Participatory Planning takes into account a participatory logic through the establishment of spaces in both national and regional development councils that incorporate citizen opinions on planning in such a way as to articulate central government actions with those of decentralized, autonomous governments (see article 279). In this way, the planning system is participatory, decentralized and de-concentrated in the creation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of public policies. c. Public activity as a pillar of republicanism: Towards the construction of civic virtue The public good must consist of realizing those transformations that can stall the deadly machine of the “self-regulating” market. The new Constitution recuperates conceptions of the public sphere that articulate the construction of the project for an independent country with an integrated social project and expectations of a better, collectively created future. Part of the recuperation of the public sphere involves the creation of common spaces for social, cultural and political encounters that go beyond mere market relations and seek to decommodify social relations. In this sense, the Constitution reclaims the public dimension of social and state life, starting with some central attributes. The idea of the public sphere, for example, is opposed to that which is hidden. Adequate communication about state actions is fundamental if inequalities in the allocation of resources are to be avoided and complaints by those that have been negatively affected are to be heard. This recuperation can be seen in public procurement processes or in audits of public
  17. 17. Sumak Kawsay Socialism Republican Bio-socialism 3130 ethnicities—a fact which impedes the emergence of open, flexible, diverse and plural cultural and political systems. In contrast, the vision of a plurinational, megadiverse and intercultural State aims to achieve the political recognition of ethnic, regional, and sexual diversity, and to create a society with multiple trajectories of loyalty and pertinence in the political community. The new State assumes the idea of a multiplicity of identities in dialogue with one another, and which reproduce a series of complex relations in the nation through continual interaction. Thus, the image of the citizen as an individual rights- holder is articulated in order to then produce the concept of collective rights-holders: language, culture, justice and territory. This diversity is institutionally reflected in a flexible state architecture where decentralization, autonomy and special territorial diversions become part of the overall fundamental structure (such as, for example, indigenous territorial districts). Moreover, the principle of a State that recognizes difference should prefigure specific judicial and institutional solutions, under the form of rights that make possible an effective equality in diversity. Thus, reparation policies in order to correct the historic disadvantages of certain groups are made possible, which also prefigures an effective context for egalitarian opportunities for all Ecuadorians. In this way, it can be seen that the new social pact is post- patriarchal, post-Eurocentrist and post-identitarian. civil society: social movements, community associations, citizen collectives, new emergent identities and the organized participation of volunteers, which all demand a say in decision-making in order to orient public life (see title IV). In this sense, the State is the means and not the end, since it is citizens and collectives that orient policy goals. While one of the principal objectives of this proposal is the recuperation of citizen and collective power, in order to give (organized) civil society the power to orient the “democratization of democracy,” it is also necessary to recuperate the State as an expression of decentralized collective action. The exclusionary society was based on an “anti-statist” construction, which is why the pro-inclusion fight “consists of minimally stabilizing among the popular classes those expectations that the State stopped guaranteeing when it lost control of social regulation” (Santos, 2005: 90). d. The construction of a plurinational, intercultural and non-patriarchal State The construction of modern states has been dominated by a colonial vision of power in which a homogeneous vision of national cultural identity is the assumed center of the social, ethnic and symbolic orders of each nation and which is defined by the patriarchal-mestizo11 -white universe, producing what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls “epistemicide”. The content and form of nations has been loosely linked to the interests and imaginations of the economic and political elites, which are predominantly white, bourgeois, masculine, educated and urban. A cultural-symbolic configuration has thus been created that is based on systems of oppression and discrimination, which has direct effects on inequality and economic exclusion—in a map of the region one can see that in almost all countries, areas of poverty as measured by consumption or basic needs, overlap with areas of certain 10 Translator’s note: Mestizo is a Spanish term meaning “of mixed race,” usually indicating in Latin America that the person is of mixed indigenous and Spanish origin.
  18. 18. Republican Bio-socialism 33 The proposal presents a sustainable and endogenous national strategy to achieve Buen Vivir with a strategic and sovereign insertion into the world system. This strategy consists of implementing public policies that modify existing patterns of accumulation, redistribution and distribution, with a territorial focus that permits the reduction of inequalities. In this framework, public investment planning, productive tributary incentives and public credit policies seek to overcome the primary exporter model, democratize access to the means of production and create quality employment. Ecuador’s accumulation strategy throughout its republican history was one of agro- exportation, to which oil exportation was added over the last four decades. This form of wealth creation was accompanied during the last 25 years by economic liberalization and a “trickle-down” redistribution strategy, whether through the market or through social policies that provided targeted welfare. As it is impossible to halt this strategy overnight, it is necessary to create a medium and long-term roadmap for shifting away from this inefficient paradigm. With this objective in mind, it is necessary to remember that Ecuador’s most significant comparative advantage is its biodiversity, thus the greatest comparative advantage it can have is to know how best to make use of this, both through conservation and the creation of bio- and nano-technology industries. In this sense, the new strategy is oriented towards the medium- and long-term construction of the bio-polis: a “bio- knowledge” society, with community eco-tourism and agro-ecological products 13 . Biodiversity is synonymous with life and, as a result, with information. Nevertheless, it is not creating wealth today because there is inadequate industry and knowledge through which to take advantage of it 14 . This would imply the creation of added 13 Ecuador as bio-polis not only has to do with the construction of a new accumulation and re-distribution strategy, but also with the construction of bio-socialism, as previously mentioned. This situation can only be viable, however, if a proposal is outlined that results in real actions deemed beneficial by society. 14 In order to address the question of “bio-knowledge”, we must remember that calculations show that “more than 90% of biological diversity that exists on the planet is found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia and South America. To this must be added the knowledge derived from indigenous knowledge. 32 7. Ecuador as “bio-polis”: Construction a new bio-strategy for accumulation and (re-)distribution The construction of the Buen Vivir society has to be associated with the construction of a new method of accumulation and (re-)distribution. The high levels of inequality and exclusion that exist, in addition to cultural practices rooted in society, are a consequence of a development strategy that has been principally based on wealth accumulation through the production of primary goods that are sold in the external market: the agro-exportation strategy. The arrival of oil further increased the dependence of the Ecuadorian economy on primary goods, which, as a result, became even more extractivist. Except for certain periods during its republican history when there were attempts to create national industry, wealth has remained in the hands of a corporatist State that took advantage of oil production, but failed to redistribute the benefits. The arrival of economic liberalization and dollarization further increased wealth concentration in the hands of a group that, in the demand for industrialized goods, saw a niche market to be exploited: importers. Both groups, with close ties to government and the banking industry, made the vicious circle of accumulation complete. The new social pact signed by the Ecuadorian society cannot coexist with a primary export strategy in a context in which Ecuador must overcome its role as a provider of primary goods that degrade nature. This role was always destined to failure. If we are to construct the Buen Vivir society of our dreams, we must have an alternative plan to generate and (re-)distribute wealth. It is important to clarify that the economic accumulation and (re-)distribution strategy is merely one of many elements that a grand strategy for achieving Buen Vivir must contain. In a society in which there are high levels of unsatisfied basic needs, however, creating alternatives to the aforementioned, failed strategy is paramount 12 . 12 It is critical to remember that the ultimate goal of this strategy is “Buen Vivir”, whose primary objective is the satisfaction of people’s basic needs. The first step in the construction of the Buen Vivir society is to guarantee the reproduction of dignified lives within an inter-generational perspective.
  19. 19. Sumak Kawsay Socialism Republican Bio-socialism 3534 generally, as the axis of the whole strategy. Through selective import substitution15 , the promotion of the community and agro-ecological ecotourism sector, and strategic public investment that foments systemic productivity—with an emphasis on connectivity—16 , the foundations are laid for the construction of national industry and the production of substantial changes in the energy matrix 17 , which are the motors of wealth creation in this period. The following are priorities during this phase: technological disaggregation through technology transfer, investments outside of the country in order to develop human capacities (especially in the basic sciences and life sciences) 18 , investment in early childhood development, promoting environmentally sound agriculture and the strengthening of the necessary conditions for community ecotourism. Protecting employment-creating and employment– intensive sectors should take preference in this phase, as well as those associated with initiatives from the social and solidary economy, the exercise of the country’s food sovereignty and, in general, the satisfaction of basic needs. Moreover, avoiding the capture of the surplus by intermediate market actors is fundamental in order to guarantee long-term and macroeconomic sustainability. Finally, it is necessary to consolidate a progressive taxation system in which tributary pressure is increased while policies that consolidate the (re-) distribution of the means of production are simultaneously promoted. 15 For an effective import substitution, it is advisable to principally incentivize the development of the following nascent industries: petro-chemistry; bioenergy and biofuels (of both the second and third generation, which do not compromise food sovereignty nor the agricultural frontier); metallurgy; biomedicine, pharmaceuticals and generics; biochemistry; hardware and software; as well as environmental services such as global compensation for not exploiting oil. Moreover, priority should be given to activities that create added value and which have significant effects on work creation and the satisfaction of basic needs, such as construction (with emphasis on social housing), food, artisanal fishing, artisan works, community tourism, textiles and shoes. 16 One of the challenges is to link overall necessary public investment with national savings. 17 Energy production, transfer and consumption should be radically reoriented towards environmental sustainability through fomenting renewable energy and energy efficiency. 18 These are emphasized because the Ecuadorian higher education system lacks sufficient programs in these areas and it is more efficient to invest in scholarships for foreign universities, in the repatriation of talented Ecuadorians, and to participate in exchanges for foreign professors that permit the further consolidation of programs needed by the country’s new industries that will be related to the development of bio-knowledge. value through ethically putting life to work in the service of human beings, while always respecting the rights of nature. In contrast with orthodox perspectives on growth, this new strategy incorporates knowledge, dialogue between different forms of knowledge, information, science, technology and innovation as endogenous variables in the system, which must be deliberately created and promoted if the country wants to produce radical qualitative transformations. Nevertheless, it is necessary to stress that the center of the Buen Vivir strategy during these periods should remain the satisfaction of the basic needs of the population and territories through processes of sustainable wealth creation across time. All actions within this strategy should have as their priority the satisfaction of basic needs within the framework established in the Constitution. Moreover, if growth and “trickle-down” redistribution was sought in the era of individualism and selfishness, in the era of solidarity, reciprocity and cooperation distribution while producing and production while re-distributing should be sought. In this framework, the creation and promotion of a popular, social and solidary economy constitutes the principal tool for incorporating (re-)distribution into the very process of added value creation. From this perspective, the endogenous and sustainable strategy responds to medium term guidelines over a 16 to 20 year period, which will be progressively achieved through consideration of four principal moments: The first phase is a transition in terms of accumulation, which, in the context of the country’s economic dependence on primary goods, is not considered in terms of re-distribution, but as the focal point of change during this period and, more Of the world’s plant species, more than two thirds originate in peripheral and semi-peripheral countries. More than 7,000 medicinal compounds used by Western medicine are derived from knowledge of plants. It can be concluded that throughout the last century local communities have significantly contributed to industrial agriculture, the pharmaceutical industry and the biotechnology industry. […] The pharmaceutical, food and biotechnology multinationals have appropriated the knowledge of our peoples with nonexistent or minimal compensation, later processing their contents and patenting the processes and, at the same time, their products” (Santos, 2003: 146). Neo-dependency is principally based on the colonization of knowledge. Within the regional integration framework, it is critical to incentivize the creation of spaces for dialogue that aim to produce knowledge that addresses the problems facing the country in order to begin debating even the epistemological form of constructing said knowledge.
  20. 20. Sumak Kawsay Socialism Republican Bio-socialism 3736 their technological application. The goal is for the relative size of these services— especially those involving bio-knowledge—and of tourist services to be larger than those created by the primary sector. Knowledge services that are produced as a result will be linked to those nascent industries being fomented in the first phase. In this context, the strategy of national sovereignty with strategic global insertion closely depends on the endogenous strategy for meeting basic needs—not the reverse, as has historically occurred under neoliberalism, where political decisions depend on the liberalization policies of the globalized market. Beginning with the first phase, the starting point for an intelligent insertion should be the consolidation of Latin American integration and the construction of a political-economic regional architecture that seeks to create new equilibriums of global power. This political architecture—UNASUR, OEALC, ALBA—will have to handle at least six programmatic axes: environment, trade, finance, science, energy, society, as well as politics. It will be important to maintain a solid political block with respect to such topics as the ecological debt, the Daly tax or the limiting of CO2 emissions in order to combat climate change; the consolidation of regional institutions for trade arbitrage and to consolidate fairer trade between our countries; the creation of the Bank of the South and a common currency for the region; the search to produce knowledge for and from the region and to foment integration and mobility between higher education institutions; the financing of a regional proposal for energy sovereignty, produced and consumed cleanly and efficiently; the joint affirmation of a strategy for guaranteeing the rights of all citizens of Latin America, in the region as well as in the North—these are just some programmatic examples of the importance of working together as a region in order to create a more just, multi-polar world. In summary, the focal point of the endogenous wealth creation strategy is to convert Ecuador’s principal comparative advantage, its biodiversity, into added value through the enjoyment of its contemplation (community tourism) and the transformation of the information contained within into industrial knowledge, goods and services in order to satisfy basic needs (e.g. agro- ecology and environmentally sound materials for construction). At the same 19 In order for this to succeed, necessary public investment in the energy sector must be consolidated. Energy and the transformation of the social security system could become a substitute for petroleum as sources of state income for public investment. In the second phase, the relative weight of new national industry increases in relation to that of the primary sector and an energy surplus is sought, principally through the production and consumption of clean and bio- energy 19 . The strategy for wealth creation in this phase is bolstered by community eco-tourism, and, during the production process itself, surplus will be distributed through strengthening the social, solidary and popular economy. Linked with developing nascent industries, there will be a prioritization of research and development investment, thanks to a virtuous tripartite alliance: universities, (public and private) industry, and public research institutes or technological centers of investigation. With this goal in mind, the consolidation of a graduate-level higher education system and research centers of excellence will be a priority during this phase. The creation of income for the national economy will still be dependent—though in smaller measure than during the first phase—on the responsible and sustainable extraction of non-renewable resources during this period. The third phase consolidates a diversification and export substitution strategy. It is expected that national energy should be able to satisfy internal demand and create surpluses for export. The strategy seeks, moreover, to substitute exportations for those goods with greater value-added and which are not exclusively dependent on extractive processes. In this phase, the relative weight of national industry will be somewhat above the relative weight of primary (exportable) goods in the national economy. Investment in science and technology will promote productive innovation in aspects related to industry, whose imports we will seek to substitute in an initial period. In the same way, a social security system will be consolidated during this phase which will permit wealth accumulation for necessary public investment. In the fourth phase, the objective of the strategy is to launch bio-services and
  21. 21. Sumak Kawsay Socialism Republican Bio-socialism 3938 connotations that should be taken into account while evaluating the implementation of public policies, their attainment and durability. The economic accumulation rate then becomes subject to the objectives of the inter-generational satisfaction of basic needs and (re-) distribution, not the reverse (Vos, 1989). That is, the reproducibility of life has primacy over economic accumulation. Having the satisfaction of basic needs as its goal, it puts emphasis on labor-intensive production, in savings through social security, and in import savings. For this reason, the required accumulation rate can be lower than in other development strategies. time, the center of the strategy for democratizing the benefits of development is to regionally integrate, redistribute the means of production and consolidate the social and solidary economy that shares while creating wealth, as well as transform public systems (social security and public education), which then makes possible the guaranteeing of rights and the consolidation of a new form of wealth creation and (re-) distribution. It is important to clarify that while the objective of the strategy is to create a type of wealth that has as its goal the satisfaction of the basic needs of the political community Ecuador; it aims to reach this goal through a sustainable, democratizing and inter-generationally beneficial process. In this sense, it breaks with two false dilemmas that have emerged within the public debate: conservation vs. satisfaction of necessities and efficiency vs. distribution. In the endogenous strategy of wealth creation that has been described, conservation and knowledge of the information contained in biodiversity are conditions for the satisfaction of needs. It relies on the potential of a harmonic coexistence between both sides of the equation, given that “not paying the social debt today is at the same time not paying the environmental debt of tomorrow” (Ramírez, 2008) 20 . The analysis of efficiency should not merely involve the consideration of whether a more productive economy is being created, but also, and above all, whether we are achieving a more just society that satisfies the basic needs of its population. Moreover, it is possible to establish an economy that in the very process of wealth creation distributes its benefits; that is, which concomitantly shares its wealth while creating it, just as supposed by the social and solidary economy. The strategy of constructing a sustainable economy, which makes its processes endogenous in order to satisfy the basic needs of its members and reduce external vulnerabilities, has 20 For each 1% that nature is degraded, poverty grows by 0,26% (UNDP-UNEP, 2008: 9).
  22. 22. Republican Bio-socialism 41 The construction of an egalitarian and (bio-) diverse society based on solidarity and cooperation in the absence of envy is perhaps a far more laudable objective for a society that, in contrast to the solitary and selfish character on which the utilitarian society of the free market is based, has as its goal the recuperation of the political, solidary and gregarious character of the individual. In this sense, the guiding principle of egalitarian justice in the framework of recognizing (bio-) diversity that is here proposed …has to (objectively and subjectively) materialize—on the negative side— through the elimination of inequalities that produce domination, oppression, human indignity, subordination or humiliation between persons or territories and—on the positive side—through the creation of scenarios that foment a parity which makes possible people’s emancipation and self-realization and where the principles of solidarity and fraternity (community) can prosper and, with them, the possibility of mutual recognition (or possibility of reciprocity) between members and territories of a society (Ramírez, 2008: 32). Cooperation and solidarity will be developed only to the degree in which interested parties are conscious of the fact that, in the future, they will be tied together by joint projects and that the success of these projects is conditional on personal self-realization—that is, a coexistence pact in which people mutually recognize one another. In this sense, the search for a society that participates in the solidary and cooperative construction of a shared future is a necessary condition for the construction of a society that is more or less free of envy. The possibility of mutual recognition rests upon the creation of a citizen/collective public sensibility in which the desire to live together flourishes because as individuals we recognize that achieving Buen Vivir for all—including for other living things and for future generations—is a part of ensuring our own quality of life. This does not mean living identically, but rather living as equals, wanting to live together. This is the coexistence pact of the new constitutional text. This is the great transformational challenge of our society! 40 Liberal utilitarian society is based on the depredation of nature in order to create accumulation; selfishness as the motivation for competition; inequality and envy as incentives; public activity—state or community public action—as a cost; and responsibility as a problem. This perspective is based on two premises: that there are no limits to nature, and that within the social contract all citizens start from equal conditions; that is, free, equal and independent. In concrete terms, the ultimate objective has been to increase the well being of the population, seen as an increase of the aggregate sum of income and expenditures of consumers (citizens?). That the guarantee of rights is principally subject to the condition that the rights holder is a formal worker with acquisitive power is a way of facilitating the reproduction of the dominant class, in which inheritance plays a fundamental role. At the same time, the mode of production has been characterized by unequal access to property because property rights require that owners control work and production, thereby converting the worker into a mere instrument. Wealth distribution—both monetary and, in the best cases, of primary goods—is done through the market and welfarism is presented as an alternative to meaningful and effective social policy. These are the characteristics demonstrated in the 1998 Constitution. The new coexistence pact of the 2008 Constitution, sumak kawsay socialism or republican bio-socialism, recuperates a bio-centric ethic of coexistence. It is not based on the “veil of ignorance”, but rather on the fact of the abysmal inequality, exclusion and discrimination that exist within Ecuador. In this sense, a first goal within the proposal is to reduce these gaps through the (re-) distribution of the benefits of development, through disregarding the “abundance thesis”, through the recognition of inter-generational justice and the consideration of nature as a subject of rights. The new coexistence pact is based on the objective of achieving the Buen Vivir of citizens and collectives—for all and without discrimination—, which is not viable if it does not have as its goal the guarantee of the rights of nature, the reduction of social inequalities, the elimination of discrimination and of exclusion, and the construction of a cooperative and solidary spirit which makes possible mutual recognition between “diverse equals” in the framework of a bio-strategy of wealth creation. 8. Towards a bio-centric society free of inequality and envy
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