Articles pertaining to the Economy in

The Constitution of Bergonia


Articles of the Constitution:

1   Establishment of the Fourth Commonwealth

2   Territory, Emblems and Capitol of the Commonwealth
3   Fundamental Principles
4   Federalism

5   Citizenship and Rights

6   Congress
6A   Peoples Assembly  (added in the 1990 reenactment)
7   The Executive Council
8   The President
9   The Officers
10  Language
11  The Economy
12  Corporations (Cooperatives)
13  Taxation
14  The Courts and Procedure
15  Amendments





Section One:

Socialist Allocation of the Means of Production

This economy is based on worker control of enterprise and socialist control of accumulated surplus.  The workers shall own and control their tools and the other means of production, either as individual professionals, craftsmen, shopkeepers and farmers, or in cooperative corporations organized pursuant to this constitution.  

Note:  "accumulated surplus" is accepted universally to mean all forms of capital.

Section Two:

The Land

(a)  The commonwealth shall own all land and natural resources.  Individuals, corporations and all other entities may possess land, but only by virtue of lease and use.   Every corporation, agency or individual who possesses, manages or works parcels of land shall do so as trustees and lessees only, subject to both the interests of the people as a whole and the need to preserve species, natural habitats and environmental integrity.

(b)  Individuals and corporations for their respective economic enterprises shall obtain work leaseholds from such authorities as each city, county and autonomous county establishes according to priorities of environmental protection, need, use and availability.  Active productive use is a condition for obtaining and keeping a work lease.  No court or leasing authority may revoke a work lease unless the leaseholder (i) ceases active work on the land, (ii) fails to pay rent, (iii)  uses the leasehold to the detriment of neighbors or otherwise in a manner inconsistent with public policy, or spoils and wastes the land or uses it in a manner not in conformity with the requirements for preserving species or natural habitats, or (iv) commits a serious crime. 

(c)  Each citizen may lease an abode sufficient to make a home for family and to practice an individual trade.  Individuals and families may hold residential leaseholds indefinitely, and the laws of Congress and the states shall preserve and reasonably regulate the right of inheritance of residential leaseholds.   

(d)  No court or leasing authority revoke a residential lease unless the leaseholder (i) ceases inhabiting the abode, (ii) fails to pay rent, (iii)  uses the leasehold to the detriment of neighbors or otherwise in a manner inconsistent with public policy, or spoils and wastes the land or uses it in a manner not in conformity with the requirements for preserving species or natural habitats, or (iv) commits a serious crime, and unless the leaseholder is given notice and an opportunity for a fair hearing.  

(e)   The states shall pass all basic laws respecting land use and the creation, limitation and termination of leaseholds.  Each City, County and Autonomous County shall establish a land use plan, and then grant, revoke and reassign leaseholds according to its plan and according to the laws of the state.


Concerning subsection (a):  The environmental references resulted  from an amendment passed in a 1981 referendum.   This referendum culminated  the Harmony  Party's ten year effort to amend the constitution to recognize ecological  imperatives.  The Harmony Party was organized in 1967 and got off to a thunderous start.  

The upshot of this is that individuals and corporations may not own land in perpetuity, but may do so indefinitely, provided that they use and respect the land.   

Subsections (b) and (c) contemplate two types of leases: "work leases" on which the various corporations and other entities conduct economic activity, whether stores, offices, factories or  farms, and "residential leases."  The section contemplates that residential leaseholders shall hold them indefinitely and pass the lease onto progeny through inheritance.  The "work" leases are much more contingent and conditional in nature.

Section  Three:

Personal Property:

Every citizen and corporation may enjoy ownership of their personal property, including money received as income from their labor.  The right of inheritance of personal property is absolute, and no taxes shall be levied upon such inheritance in modest and common amounts.


The last clause of this section is unhelpfully vague.  Every attempt since the revolution to tax estates has run afoul of this dispute.

Section Four:

Monopoly Enterprises:

          Congress may establish:

            a)  National monopolies for the production of weaponry, ships, aircraft and rocketry.

b)  National or regional monopolies for (i) railroads, river and ocean shipping, and air travel, and (ii) the distribution of electricity, natural gas, and other forms of energy,

            d)   National, regional or state monopolies for the construction and maintenance of telephone and telecommunication lines, cables, signal casters and receivers, so as to promote a system of free communication for all the people, corporations and organizations,   

            e)  Monopolies within regional watersheds for the collection and distribution of water, and

f)   A national monopoly to assure payment for the reasonable medical care of all the people.

Section Five:

Market for Goods and Services

     The commonwealth and the states shall permit a free competitive market of consumer and wholesale goods and services by individuals and corporations, subject to reasonable regulation.

Section Six:

Regulation of Economic Activity

Congress and the States congresses may regulation the economic activities of individuals and corporations by establishing legislative councils to reasonably control and regulate:

a)   Product safety and quality,

b)   Minimum wages paid to corporation members and private employees,

c)   Maximum prices,

d)   Work place safety,

e)   Location of the plants facilities and offices of enterprises,

f)   Emissions of pollutants and production and disposal of waste,

g)   Export and import of commodities, goods and services,

h)   Scientific and technological research and development, and the licensing and use of technology,

i)   National investment and banking, including determinations of the money supply, including the base rate for lending money from the central bank to other banks.

j)   Intellectual property and communications.

At least one third of the membership of any such representative council shall consist of representatives of the industries or organizations affected by the power of the council.  At least one fourth of the membership of any such council shall be delegates of Congress or the state congress. 

k)  Development of new technologies and industries.

Note:  This section illustrates how the constitution confers authority to organs of government to regulate activity, economic and otherwise.  

Various sections grant authority to "reasonably regulate" activity.  In Berg constitutional law the word "reasonably" expresses a clear limitation on the authority to regulate, so that courts may review regulations as to whether they are "reasonable."  The standard of "reasonableness" means that every regulation must be (a) "proper in its purpose" and (b) "modest in its means."  A regulation's purpose is proper if it is consistent with this constitution or with the articulated Eight Principles of the Revolution.  The means are modest if they imposes a minimum of restriction upon the liberty of affected persons and groups that is consistent and necessary with the purpose.  

This standard of reasonableness is similar to "substantive" due process analysis in U.S. constitutional law.

Section Seven:

Small Businesses

     Any individual citizen may engage in economic enterprise without organizing as a corporation as otherwise required by the next Article.  He may employ as workers up to twelve persons not related to himself by blood, providing that he does register as a corporation and pays taxes accordingly.  



Note:   Coropei  in Nacateca, cropo in Minidun, both derived from the English & French.  

Section One:

Corporate Citizenship

Since corporations are cooperative collaborations of worker-citizens, they may collectively exercise the rights of citizens.  Therefore corporations may appear in court with the same right and standing and subject to the same liabilities as a full citizen, except that corporations may for good cause be extinguished and dissolved by reasonable operation of law.  And corporations may also own property and hold leaseholds of land as do basic citizens.

Section Two:

Corporate Organization

Every enterprise or association of individual citizens existing for whatever purpose, save for religious purposes, and consisting of ten or more unrelated persons shall become organized as a corporation pursuant to such laws as Congress and the states establish.  Congress and the states may prohibit the activity of associations or groups which do not organize as corporations pursuant to this article, yet neither Congress nor the state may impose unreasonable regulation upon the formation of corporations.


This section makes it explicit that, while Bergonians have the right to organize (see  Art. 5,  Sect. 2a), the form of all organizations must adhere to the requirements of this article.  This includes all businesses, unions, trade groups, stores, clubs, parties, professional associations, and fraternal groups.   This article requires that all these private organizations are democratic in structure.  Only churches are exempt, since churches need grand poobahs.

This article underlines more than anything else the different  conceptions of Bergonians and Americans about the structure of society and the meaning of democracy.  In America and in most countries, the constitution structures only the government, which is very distinct from "the private sector."  In Bergonia, the difference between "government" and the “private sector" is blurred, especially since this constitution is concerned with regulating all authority in society, not just “government” authority.  This is the difference between socialist constitutional law and the capitalist state.

The law recognizes a classification of economic corporations, which includes all corporations primarily organized to engage in economic activity such as farming, mining, construction, manufacturing, wholesale or retail distribution of goods or services.   Non-economic corporations shall include political parties, professional groups, hobby clubs, philanthropic groupings and organizations with primarily educational, scholarly or scientific purposes.   This roughly corresponds to the division in the US of profit and non-profit corporations. 

Section Three:

Corporate Charters

The founders of each new corporation shall establish a charter.  Congress and the states shall enact laws for registering of all charters and all amendments thereto.  The law shall not recognize a corporation until its founders have registered the charter according to such laws.

Every charter shall define a procedure for the election of the corporation's governing authority by all its members, and also a procedure for the governing authority to amend or revise the charter. 

The congress of each state shall enact model charters for use by corporations.  In case a corporation has no charter or the provisions of its charter are indiscernible or deemed unfair to its , it shall operate according to the appropriate model charter.

Section Four:


The men and women who work in a corporate enterprise shall become members of the corporation.  Corporations shall admit as members all individuals who have worked with the corporation for at least one year, and give each such worker one full vote in all elections, although a charter may make provisions for the separate weighing of the votes cast by different classes of members.

Otherwise, a corporation shall have the right to regulate its own membership, set conditions for membership, and define different classifications of membership.  A corporation may by its charter establish procedures for the discipline or expulsion of members.  Neither charter nor corporate action may limit or condition membership based upon race, language, ethnic identification, or age.

Section Five:

Governing Authority

(a)  Every charter shall establish a governing authority for the corporation, which shall be either 

(i) an assembly of all the members of the corporation that convenes at least twice a year, or 

(ii) a council of representatives:

(b)  If the charter prescribes a representative council, then the members shall elect the representatives either in an assembly or by other democratic balloting procedures as set forth in the charter.  The members shall elect their representatives whenever 20% of the members sign a petition requesting an election, or at least every three years.   At least sixty percent of the representatives shall be elected exclusively by working members, as opposed to any non-working members or by other entities.   

(c)  The governing authority of an economic corporation shall approve the wages and income shares of its members and its officers in the manner determined by the charter.

Section Six:

Executive Officers

The charter shall establish procedures whereby the corporation’s governing authority shall appoint, and may in it discretion at any time dismiss, the corporation’s executive officers.   The charter may not deprive a governing authority of the absolute right to dismiss executive officers and may not give executive officers any right of veto over the decisions of the governing authority.

The executive officers shall have the authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the corporation.   They shall also have the authority to set prices for the goods, commodities and services of the corporation.

Section Seven:


Courts may adjudge corporations guilty of offenses against either the people, the state or against other citizens.  Congress and the states may establish by law appropriate penalties for corporations so adjudged by the courts.

If a court after a trial finds that a corporation has committed a serious offense, such as fraud, waste of land, sea or air, oppression of its own members, or endangering the public health, Congress or a state may revoke, suspend or amend its charter.



Section One:

Authority to Tax and Impose Fees

        (a)  Congress and the states, or legislative councils acting by their specific authority, may impose taxes upon individuals or corporations, but only to the extent allowed by this article of the constitution.  No other entities may impose taxes, except by leave of the state, yet any public entity may charge modest user fees for use of public facilities as determined by state or local authorities.

Note:  "public entity" is understood to include any socialized entity, with income from socialized funds.

Giving the Lesre the power to determine what taxes the local governments can impose is identical to the situation in the US.  It is a restraint on local oppression, long a theme in Bergonian politics.

         (b)  Both congress and the states may assign to cities, counties and autonomous counties the authority to collect the taxes it imposes, in which case it shall allow the county a share of the collections.  In any event, states shall assure the cities, counties, autonomous counties and communes sufficient tax revenue enough income to function efficiently.

Section Two:

Taxes on Enterprises

Congress and the states, and legislative councils acting by their specific authority, may not impose taxes upon individuals, corporations and other enterprises, except as follows:

a)   Taxes upon the value of plants, animals, minerals and fuels taken from the lands and seas, or the value added by the labor of man to convert any such raw material to utilizable form.

b)   Taxes on the wholesale and retail sale of electricity, petroleum based fuels, natural gas, and other energy,

c)  Taxes on sales of goods, excluding food, and services, based upon classifications of social costs, energy consumption and carbon discharge.

d)   A tax upon corporations and enterprises on their gross payrolls, including a tax on the gross payroll of self-employed individuals, notwithstanding the provisions of Section Three.  Funds derived from this tax shall be dedicated to a national pension fund for retired, elderly and disabled individuals.

e)    The income of enterprises, although exemptions may be given for cost of materials and services, research and development, and capital investment.  

Note:   Bergonian socialists argue that tax laws both reflect a nation's culture and contort spending by individuals and organizations.  Consider as an example the interest deduction in  the American tax laws that encouraged citizens to run up debt and discouraged savings.   Bergonians pursue social policy by assigning different tax rates for different classes of good.  For example, there are excise taxes on goods that carry a social cost, such as gag-hog vehicles, things that don't recycle well, and tobacco and alcohol.

Section Three:

Income Taxes Prohibited

Congress or the states, or representative councils acting by their specific authority, shall not tax the income of individuals except for income derived from foreign sources or self employment.

Note:   This limitation on personal income taxes significantly distinguishes Bergonian economic life from that of most capitalist nations.  This provision came about as a result of an amendment in 1949. Provisions such as these insure that Bergonians lead lives much simpler than Americans.  Bergonians do not have to worry about income taxes, or any of the attendant record keeping and aggravation.  

Section Four:

Imports and Transfers

Congress may impose taxes upon the importation of goods from other nations and the transfer of goods, property and things of value from the commonwealth to other nations.  The President shall negotiate any economic, trade and transfer agreements with other countries, but Congress must ratify all such agreements.

Section Five:

Fees and Charges 

Congress and the states, or representative councils acting by their specific authority, and the cities, counties and autonomous counties, may all may impose fees and charges for the specific use of facilities, services and works by individuals and corporations.     

Section Six:

Contests and Hearings

Both Congress and the state congresses shall establish procedures whereby citizens may contest any assessment of taxes against them.  Such procedures shall include provisions for an informal adjudication and an evidentiary hearing before an impartial tribunal where the citizen may appear with counsel and present witnesses.   Such hearings may be open or closed to the public at the option of the citizen.

Section Seven:

Expenditures of Taxes

Taxes may be collected and expended only on lawful purposes according to budgets approved by the taxing authority.  Graft and misappropriation of funds collected from taxes is a crime, punishable either by complete restitution or imprisonment.  

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