True Price, instead of Basic Income

A ‘true price’ is forthcoming when a person receives, as counter-value for the product he has made, sufficient to enable him to satisfy his needs, the whole of his needs, including of course the needs of his dependants, until he will again have completed a like product.

– Rudolf Steiner, 29 July 1922

At the 12th Annual Meeting of the Economics Conference, it was decided to give particular emphasis to the true price formula. There are, of course, many other topics one could focus on, but we felt this is the key for effecting substantial change in our understanding of economic life and our behaviour in regard to it. This theme is being maintained through to the 14th Annual Meeting in Montreal in June 2015 (see Events and Activities).

Projects

In this connection, different projects are being undertaken around the world both individually and in groups, that concentrate on understanding Rudolf Steiner’s true price formula (see above) and how this can guide modern economic life, especially now that the global financial crisis, having shown the efficient markets hypothesis to be wanting, is clearly in need of a new conceptual foundation.

Of his true price formula, Rudolf Steiner said: “Abstract as it is, this formula is nonetheless exhaustive. In setting up a formula it is always necessary that it should contain all the concrete details. For the domain of economics, I believe this formula is no less exhaustive than, say, the Theorem of Pythagoras is for all right-angled triangles. The point is that, just as we have to introduce into the Theorem of Pythagoras the varying proportions of the sides, so shall we have to introduce many, very many, more variables into this formula. Economic science is precisely an understanding of how the whole economic process can be included in this formula.” The question is how can this formula, with its wide-ranging implications for theory and practice, inform our different activities around the world? If you would like to contribute to this work, please send an email in the first place to economicsnoSpam@goetheanum.org with ‘True Price’ as the subject.

Symposia and Workshops
To help carry this work on a worldwide basis, a series of one-day symposia was held in 2013/4 that enabled people in different parts of the world to meet and share how their work is furthering the idea of true price. They were held in Toronto (October 2013), Basel (November 2013), London (January 2014) and Sao Paulo (May 2014). The next one is in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 21 November 2014.

Writings on True Price
See the Literature page for a list of contemporary writing on true price.

The Case against Basic Income
To read articles that explore the reasons why basic income would not achieve what would be achieved by true pricing, visit, for example, grundeinkommen-nein.ch.