The concept of economic dignity which has been getting a bit of airtime in the past few days makes a lot of sense to me. The Atlantic covers it with a suitably clickbait title: “Economics if Broken“. The term comes from Gene Sperling, former economic advisor to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and is defined as (in the Atlantic’s structuring):
Economic dignity would mean being able “to care for your family and enjoy the most meaningful moments of family life, without economic deprivation taking away those most meaningful moments,” Sperling said. It would mean being able “to pursue your potential and your purpose.” And finally, it would mean being able “to participate in the economy without domination and humiliation.”
While this might not cover everything that matters in economics, setting goals around dignity like this would have a massive impact on society. Not only is this the “right thing” to do, we would almost certainly find that by enabling citizens to reach this level would empower many to contribute hugely to the economy in ways they cannot do now.
Many of today’s economic mechanisms keep people at the low end of the income scale trapped at the low end of the income scale so that it is nearly impossible for them to achieve their potential.
A few other places where the concept is covered: