Our vision for a more equitable, sustainable, and democratic society
Getting Off the Low Road
The low road is the path of convenience, greed, and contempt for others. It’s where people are treated like roadkill, the earth like a sewer, and democracy like a joke. The consequences are predictable…
- Low wages and weak labor standards make life difficult for workers, while ethical employers who provide decent wages and healthy working conditions struggle to compete against low-road firms who take advantage of every crack in the system.
- Lack of environmental standards leaves companies that want to protect the environment struggling to compete , while low-road companies undermine these standards and externalize these costs..
- Money and corporate priorities dominate political decision-making, rewarding those with money, while putting a productive, equitable, and sustainable economy further out of reach.
Our society seems resigned to building badly organized systems and indulging personal and corporate greed. But the fundamental problem isn’t just the weakness of our systems, abuse of power, or greed. It’s our inability to imagine that something different is really possible.
There’s a better way.
We can close off the low road and get on the high road.
Getting On the High Road
If the low road is a dead end that puts a stop to progress and leads to human and environmental catastrophe, getting on the high road will allow us to enjoy a future governed by a commitment to Equity, Sustainability, and Democracy.
The high road is a place where leaders from government, the community, and business work together to identify inefficient systems, then innovate their replacements. Those new and better systems can then be used to lift up workers, use natural resources and human capital more efficiently, and foster equity, justice, and democracy for all people.
High road principles:
- Democracy can be a force for improving performance and productivity inside firms, communities, and government.
- Public goods — strong health care, housing, transportation, and education — are essential to shared prosperity.
- Well-enforced environmental and labor standards improve communities, strengthen society, and nurture equitable growth.
Audacious? Sure. Possible? Yes.
How COWS Helps Build the High Road
In order to close off the low road and get on the high road, COWS works to…
- Protect vulnerable workers and the environment. (link to example – Green jobs).
- Build alliances between high road firms, their workers, and communities to strengthen industry and extend opportunity. (WRTP link)
- Put racial justice at the center of training (equityinapprenticship.org), economic development (the wealth building paper link), and city planning (link to examples from MIP and or SSTI).
- Reimagine systems and develop new metrics to support smart, sustainable transportation systems. (example?)
Our approach is straightforward: Reduce Waste — Add Value — Share the Benefits — Repeat.