This paper proposes a new kind of “political arithmetic” as a key element of the foundation for a good society. Starting from the premise that the labor process in capitalism developed along lines laid down by double-entry bookkeeping, the paper cites the “wondrous errors and confusion” inherent in performing social accounting while retaining the narrow enterprise accounting mindset. The paper proposes an alternative institution, the labor commons, and a social accounting framework that explicitly — and quantitatively — acknowledges the contribution made to social productivity by the time that is freely at the disposal of individuals.
Tom Walker is an independent scholar and activist who lives in Vancouver, Canada. He blogs at Ecological Headstand: <ecologicalheadstand.blogspot.com>.