Economic democracy is a socioeconomic philosophy that proposes to shift decision-making power from corporate managers and corporate shareholders to a larger group of public stakeholders that includes workers, suppliers and the broader public. No single definition or approach encompasses economic democracy, but most proponents claim that modern property relations externalize costs, subordinate the general well-being to private profit and deny the polity a democratic voice in economic policy decisions. In addition to these moral concerns, economic democracy makes practical claims, such as that it can compensate for capitalism's inherent effective demand gap. Proponents of economic democracy argue that modern capitalism periodically results in economic crises characterized by deficiency of effective demand as society is unable to earn enough income to purchase its output production. Corporate monopoly of common resources creates artificial scarcity, resulting in socio-economic imbalances that restrict workers from access to economic opportunity and diminish consumer purchasing power.
Economic democracy has been proposed as a component of larger socioeconomic ideologies, as a stand-alone theory and as a variety of reform agendas. For example, as a means to securing full economic rights, it opens a path to full political rights, defined as including the former. Both market and non-market theories of economic democracy have been proposed; as a reform agenda, supporting theories and real-world examples range from decentralization and economic liberalization to democratic cooperatives, public banking, fair trade and the regionalization of food production and currency. According to many analysts, deficiency of effective demand is the most fundamental economic problem; that is, modern society does not earn enough income to purchase its output. For example, geographer David Harvey claims, "Workers spending their wages is one source of effective demand, but the total wage bill is always less than the total capital in circulation, so the purchase of wage goods that sustain daily life is never sufficient for the profitable sale of the total output".
While balanced mixed economies have existed throughout history, veteran Project Manager for the U. S. Treasury Department, Richard C. Cook and other critics claim that command economies are predominate, citing state capitalism and imperialism as related; as common resources are monopolized by imperial centers of wealth and power, conditions of scarcity are imposed artificially upon the majority, resulting in large-scale socio-economic imbalance. In the Georgist view of any economic system, "wealth" includes all material things produced by labor for the satisfaction of human desires and having exchange value. Land and capital are considered the essential factors in producing wealth. Land includes all natural forces. Labor includes all human exertion. Capital includes the portion of wealth devoted to producing more wealth. While the income of any individual might include proceeds from any combination of these three sources—land and capital are considered mutually exclusive factors in economic models of the production and distribution of wealth.
According to Henry George: "People seek to satisfy their desires with the least exertion". Human beings interact with nature to produce goods and services that other human beings need or desire; the laws and customs that govern the relationships among these entities constitute the economic structure of a given society. Alternately, David Schweickart asserts in his book, After Capitalism: "The structure of a capitalist society consists of three basic components: "The bulk of the means of production are owned, either directly by individuals or by corporations that are themselves owned by private individuals. "Products are exchanged in a market --, to say and services are bought and sold at prices determined for the most part by competition and not by some governmental pricing authority. Individual enterprises compete with one another in providing goods and services to consumers, each enterprise trying to make a profit; this competition is the primary determinant of prices. "Most of the people who work for pay in this society work for other people, who own the means of production.
Most working people are'wage labourers'". Supply and demand are accepted as market functions for establishing prices. Organisations endeavor to 1) minimize the cost of production. But, according to David Schweickart, if "those who produce the goods and services of society are paid less than their productive contribution" as consumers they cannot buy all the goods produced, investor confidence tends to decline, triggering declines in production and employment; such economic instability stems from a central contradiction: Wages are both a cost of production and an essential source of effective demand, resulting in deficiency of effective demand along with a growing interest in economic democracy. In chapter 3 of his book, "Community Organizing: Theory and Practice", Douglas P. Biklen discusses a variety of perspectives on "The Making of Social Problems". One of those views suggests that "writers and organizers who define social problems in terms of social and economic democracy see problems not as the experiences of poor people, but as the relationship of poverty to wealth and exploitation".
Biklen states that according to this viewpoint: orporate power, upper class power, uneven distribution of wealth and prejudice cause social problems... he problem is not one of poverty, but of enormous wealth. The problem is not one o
A cooperative is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise". Cooperatives may include: businesses owned and managed by the people who use their services organizations managed by the people who work there multi-stakeholder or hybrid cooperatives that share ownership between different stakeholder groups. For example, care cooperatives where ownership is shared between both care-givers and receivers. Stakeholders might include non-profits or investors. Second- and third-tier cooperatives whose members are other cooperatives platform cooperatives that use a cooperatively owned and governed website, mobile app or a protocol to facilitate the sale of goods and services. Research published by the Worldwatch Institute found that in 2012 one billion people in 96 countries had become members of at least one cooperative; the turnover of the largest three hundred cooperatives in the world reached $2.2 trillion.
Cooperative businesses are more economically resilient than many other forms of enterprise, with twice the number of co-operatives surviving their first five years compared with other business ownership models. Cooperatives have social goals which they aim to accomplish by investing a proportion of trading profits back into their communities; as an example of this, in 2013, retail co-operatives in the UK invested 6.9% of their pre-tax profits in the communities in which they trade as compared with 2.4% for other rival supermarkets. Since 2002 cooperatives and credit unions could be distinguished on the Internet by use of a.coop domain. Since 2014, following International Cooperative Alliance's introduction of the Cooperative Marque, ICA cooperatives and WOCCU credit unions can be identified by a coop ethical consumerism label. Cooperation dates back as far. Tribes were organized as cooperative structures, allocating jobs and resources among each other, only trading with the external communities.
In alpine environments, trade could only be maintained in organized cooperatives to achieve a useful condition of artificial roads such as Viamala in 1472. Pre-industrial Europe is home to the first cooperatives from an industrial context; the roots of the cooperative movement can extend worldwide. In the English-speaking world, post-feudal forms of cooperation between workers and owners that are expressed today as "profit-sharing" and "surplus sharing" arrangements, existed as far back as 1795; the key ideological influence on the Anglosphere branch of the cooperative movement, was a rejection of the charity principles that underpinned welfare reforms when the British government radically revised its Poor Laws in 1834. As both state and church institutions began to distinguish between the'deserving' and'undeserving' poor, a movement of friendly societies grew throughout the British Empire based on the principle of mutuality, committed to self-help in the welfare of working people. In 1761, the Fenwick Weavers' Society was formed in Fenwick, East Ayrshire, Scotland to sell discounted oatmeal to local workers.
Its services expanded to include assistance with savings and loans and education. In 1810, Welsh social reformer Robert Owen, from Newtown in mid-Wales, his partners purchased New Lanark mill from Owen's father-in-law David Dale and proceeded to introduce better labour standards including discounted retail shops where profits were passed on to his employees. Owen left New Lanark to pursue other forms of cooperative organization and develop coop ideas through writing and lecture. Cooperative communities were set up in Glasgow and Hampshire, although unsuccessful. In 1828, William King set up a newspaper, The Cooperator, to promote Owen's thinking, having set up a cooperative store in Brighton; the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, founded in 1844, is considered the first successful cooperative enterprise, used as a model for modern coops, following the'Rochdale Principles'. A group of 28 weavers and other artisans in Rochdale, England set up the society to open their own store selling food items they could not otherwise afford.
Within ten years there were over a thousand cooperative societies in the United Kingdom. Other events such as the founding of a friendly society by the Tolpuddle Martyrs in 1832 were key occasions in the creation of organized labor and consumer movements. Friendly Societies established forums through which one member, one vote was practiced in organisation decision-making; the principles challenged the idea that a person should be an owner of property before being granted a political voice. Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century there was a surge in the number of cooperative organisations, both in commercial practice and civil society, operating to advance democracy and universal suffrage as a political principle. Friendly Societies and consumer cooperatives became the dominant form of organization amongst working people in Anglosphere industrial societies prior to the rise of trade unions and industrial factories. Weinbren reports that by the end of the 19th century, over 80% of British working age men and 90% of Australian working age men were members of one or more Friendly Society.
From the mid-nineteenth century, mutual organisations embraced these ideas in economic enterprises, firstly amongst tradespeople, in cooperative stores, educational institutes, financial institutions and industrial enterprises. The common thread (enacte
A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but meaningful clothes, but the idea has been applied to social norms such as greetings. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years—the word tradition itself derives from the Latin tradere meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. While it is assumed that traditions have ancient history, many traditions have been invented on purpose, whether that be political or cultural, over short periods of time. Various academic disciplines use the word in a variety of ways; the phrase "according to tradition", or "by tradition" means that whatever information follows is known only by oral tradition, but is not supported by physical documentation, by a physical artifact, or other quality evidence. Tradition is used to indicate the quality of a piece of information being discussed. For example, "According to tradition, Homer was born on Chios, but many other locales have claimed him as theirs."
This tradition may never be disproven. In another example, "King Arthur, by tradition a true British king, has inspired many well loved stories." Whether they are documented fact or not does not decrease their value as cultural history and literature. Traditions are a subject of study in several academic fields in social sciences such as anthropology and biology; the concept of tradition, as the notion of holding on to a previous time, is found in political and philosophical discourse. For example, it is the basis of the political concept of traditionalism, strands of many world religions including traditional Catholicism. In artistic contexts, tradition is used to decide the correct display of an art form. For example, in the performance of traditional genres, adherence to guidelines dictating how an art form should be composed are given greater importance than the performer's own preferences. A number of factors can exacerbate the loss of tradition, including industrialization and the assimilation or marginalization of specific cultural groups.
In response to this, tradition-preservation attempts have now been started in many countries around the world, focusing on aspects such as traditional languages. Tradition is contrasted with the goal of modernity and should be differentiated from customs, laws, routines and similar concepts; the English word tradition comes from the noun from the verb tradere. According to Anthony Giddens and others, the modern meaning of tradition evolved during the Enlightenment period, in opposition to modernity and progress; as with many other generic terms, there are many definitions of tradition. The concept includes a number of interrelated ideas. Tradition can refer to beliefs or customs that are Prehistoric, with lost or arcane origins, existing from time immemorial. Traditions were passed orally, without the need for a writing system. Tools to aid this process include poetic devices such as alliteration; the stories thus preserved are referred to as tradition, or as part of an oral tradition. Such traditions, are presumed to have originated at some point.
Traditions are presumed to be ancient and important, though they may sometimes be much less "natural" than is presumed. It is presumed that at least two transmissions over three generations are required for a practice, belief or object to be seen as traditional; some traditions were deliberately invented for one reason or another to highlight or enhance the importance of a certain institution. Traditions may be adapted to suit the needs of the day, the changes can become accepted as a part of the ancient tradition. Tradition changes with changes from one generation to the next being seen as significant. Thus, those carrying out the traditions will not be consciously aware of the change, if a tradition undergoes major changes over many generations, it will be seen as unchanged. There are various fields of tradition. Beliefs or customs instituted and maintained by societies and governments, such as national anthems and national holidays, such as Federal holidays in the United States. Beliefs or customs maintained by religious denominations and church bodies that share history, culture, and, to some extent, body of teachings.
For example, one can speak of Christianity's tradition. Many objects and customs can be traditional. Rituals of social interaction can be traditional, with phrases and gestures such as saying "thank you", sending birth announcements, greeting cards, etc. Tradition can refer to larger concepts practiced by groups, organizations or societies, such as the practice of national and public holidays; some of the oldest traditions include citizenship. It can include material objects, such as buildings, works of art or tools. Tradition is used as an adjective
Red flag (politics)
In politics, a red flag is predominantly a symbol of socialism, Marxism, trade unions, left-wing politics, of anarchism. Socialists adopted the symbol during the Revolutions of 1848 and it became a symbol of communism as a result of its use by the Paris Commune of 1871; the flags of several communist states, including China and the Soviet Union, are explicitly based on the original red flag. The red flag is used as a symbol by some democratic socialists and social democrats, for example the League of Social Democrats of Hong Kong, French Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party of Germany; the Labour Party in Britain used it until the late 1980s. It was the inspiration for The Red Flag. In the Middle Ages, ships in combat flew a long red streamer, called the Baucans, to signify a fight to the death. In one petition, a group of English sailors asserted that the Crown had no right to a share of the prize money earned from a Norman ship captured in 1293 because it had raised the Baucans. By the 17th century, the Baucans had evolved into a red flag, or "flag of defiance."
It was raised in castles under siege to indicate that they would not surrender. "The red flag is a signal of battle," according to Chambers Cyclopedia. The red cap was a symbol of popular revolt in France going back to the Jacquerie of 1358; the color red become associated with patriotism early in the French Revolution due to the popularity of the Tricolour cockade, introduced in July 1789, the Phrygian cap, introduced in May 1790. A red flag was raised over the Champ-de-Mars in Paris on July 17, 1791 by Lafayette, commander of the National Guard, as a symbol of martial law, warning rioters to disperse; as many as fifty anti-royalist protesters were killed in the fighting. Inverting the original symbolism, the Jacobins protested this action by flying a red flag to honor the "martyrs' blood" of those, killed, they created their own red flags to declare "the martial law of the people against the revolt of the court." The Jacobin Club ruled France during the Reign of Terror and made the red flag an unofficial national emblem.
However, the earlier Tricolor regained popularity under Napoleon. British sailors mutinied near the mouth of the River Thames in 1797 and hoisted a red flag on several ships. Two red flags soaked in calf's blood were flown by marchers in South Wales during the Merthyr Rising of 1831, it is claimed to be the first time. Along with the Newport Rising eight years it was one of the most serious violent outbreaks witnessed on mainland Britain; the red flags of Merthyr became a potent relic following the execution of early trade unionist Dic Penderyn in August 1831, despite a public campaign to pardon him. During the Mexican siege of the Alamo in March 1836, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana displayed a plain red flag from the highest church tower in Bejar; the meaning of this flag was not socialism: its meaning - directed to the Alamo defenders - meant "no surrender. At much the same time, the Liberal "Colorados" in the Uruguayan Civil War used red flags; this prolonged struggle at the time got considerable attention and sympathy from Liberals and revolutionaries in Europe and it was in this war that Garibaldi first made a name for himself and that he was inspired to have his troops wear the famous Red Shirts.
During the 1848 Revolution in France and radical republicans demanded that the red flag be adopted as France's national flag. Led by poet-politician Alphonse de Lamartine, the government rejected the crowd's demand: "he red flag that you have brought back here has done nothing but being trailed around the Champ-de-Mars in the people's blood in 91 and 93, whereas the Tricolore flag went round the world along with the name, the glory and the liberty of the homeland!" The banner of the Paris Commune of 1871 was red and it was at this time that the red flag became a symbol of communism. The flag was flown by anarchists at a May Day rally for an eight-hour workday in Chicago in 1886. A bomb blast killed five were executed; this event, considered the beginning of the international labor movement, is still commemorated annually in many countries The red flag gained great popularity during the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Soviet flag, with a hammer, a sickle and a star on a red background, was adopted in 1923.
Various Communist and socialist newspapers have used the name The Red Flag. In China, both the Nationalist Party-led Republic of China and the Communist Party-led People's Republic of China use a red field for their flags, a reference to their revolutionary origins. In more recent times, social democratic parties have gravitated away from the Red Flag as a symbol. However, several European parties retain a "red square" symbol, including Germany's SPD and the Party of European Socialists; the building to have had a red flag flying for the longest period of time and to still have one is the Victorian Trades Hall in Melbourne, Australia. The flag has been flying for over a century. Anarchists, as part of the socialist movement used red flag in the 19th Century - it was one of the first anarchist symbols. Usage of the red flag by anarchists disappeared after the October Revolution, when red flags started to be associated only with communist parties and bureaucratic and authoritarian
Internationalism is a political principle which transcends nationalism and advocates a greater political or economic cooperation among nations and people. Supporters of this principle are referred to as internationalists, believe that the people of the world should unite across national, cultural, racial, or class boundaries to advance their common interests, or that the governments of the world should cooperate because their mutual long-term interests are of greater importance than their short-term disputes. In 19th-century UK there was a liberal internationalist strand of political thought epitomized by Richard Cobden and John Bright. Cobden and Bright were against the protectionist Corn Laws and in a speech at Covent Garden on September 28, 1843 Cobden outlined his utopian brand of internationalism: Free Trade! What is it? Why, breaking down the barriers that separate nations. Cobden believed that Free Trade would pacify the world by interdependence, an idea expressed by Adam Smith in his The Wealth of Nations and common to many liberals of the time.
A belief in the idea of the moral law and an inherent goodness in human nature inspired their faith in internationalism. Such "liberal" conceptions of internationalism were harshly criticized by socialists and radicals at the time, who pointed out the links between global economic competition and imperialism, would identify this competition as being a root cause of world conflict. One of the first international organisations in the world was the International Workingmen's Association, formed in London in 1864 by working class socialist and communist political activists. Referred to as the First International, the organization was dedicated to the advancement of working class political interests across national boundaries, was in direct ideological opposition to strains of liberal internationalism which advocated free trade and capitalism as means of achieving world peace and interdependence. Other international organizations included the Inter-Parliamentary Union, established in 1889 by Frédéric Passy from France and William Randal Cremer from the United Kingdom, the League of Nations, formed after World War I.
The former was envisioned as a permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations, while the latter was an attempt to solve the world's security problems through international arbitration and dialogue. J. A. Hobson, a Gladstonian liberal who became a socialist after the Great War, anticipated in his book Imperialism the growth of international courts and congresses which would settle international disputes between nations in a peaceful way. Sir Norman Angell in his work The Great Illusion claimed that the world was united by trade, finance and communications and that therefore nationalism was an anachronism and that war would not profit anyone involved but would only result in destruction. Lord Lothian was an internationalist and an imperialist who in December 1914 looked forward to:...the voluntary federation of the free civilised nations which will exorcise the spectre of competitive armaments and give lasting peace to mankind. In September 1915 he thought the British Empire was'the perfect example of the eventual world Commonwealth'Internationalism expressed itself in Britain through the endorsement of the League of Nations by such people as Gilbert Murray.
The Liberal Party and the Labour Party had prominent internationalist members, like the Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald who believed that'our true nationality is mankind' Internationalism is an important component of socialist political theory, based on the principle that working-class people of all countries must unite across national boundaries and oppose nationalism and war in order to overthrow capitalism. In this sense, the socialist understanding of internationalism is related to the concept of international solidarity. Socialist thinkers such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin argue that economic class, rather than nationality, race, or culture, is the main force which divides people in society, that nationalist ideology is a propaganda tool of a society's dominant economic class. From this perspective, it is in the ruling class' interest to promote nationalism in order to hide the inherent class conflicts at play within a given society. Therefore, socialists see nationalism as a form of ideological control arising from a society's given mode of economic production.
Since the 19th century, socialist political organizations and radical trade unions such as the Industrial Workers of the World have promoted internationalist ideologies and sought to organize workers across national boundaries to achieve improvements in the conditions of labor and advance various forms of industrial democracy. The First, Second and Fourth Internationals were socialist political groupings which sought to advance worker's revolution across the globe and achieve international socialism. Socialist internationalism is anti-imperialist, therefore supports the liberation of peoples from all forms of colonialism and foreign domination, the right of nations to self-determination. Therefore, socialists have aligned themselves politically with anti-colonial independence movements, opposed the exploitation of one country by another. Since war is understood in socialist theory to be a general product of the laws of economic competition inherent to capitalism (i.e. competi
In political science, a reactionary is a person who holds political views that favour a return to the status quo ante, the previous political state of society, which they believe possessed characteristics that are negatively absent from the contemporary status quo of a society. As an adjective, the word reactionary describes points of view and policies meant to restore the status quo ante. Political reactionaries are found on the left-wing. Reactionary ideologies can be radical, in the sense of political extremism, in service to re-establishing the status quo ante. In political discourse, being a reactionary is regarded as negative; the French Revolution gave the English language three politically descriptive words denoting anti-progressive politics: "reactionary", "conservative" and "right". "Reactionary" derives from the French word réactionnaire and "conservative" from conservateur, identifying monarchist parliamentarians opposed to the revolution. In this French usage, reactionary denotes "a movement towards the reversal of an existing tendency or state" and a "return to a previous condition of affairs".
The Oxford English Dictionary cites the first English language usage in 1799 in a translation of Lazare Carnot's letter on the Coup of 18 Fructidor. During the French Revolution, conservative forces organized opposition to the progressive sociopolitical and economic changes brought by the revolution. In 19th Century European politics, the reactionary class included the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy—the clergy, the aristocracy, royal families and royalists—believing that national government was the sole domain of the Church and the state. In France, supporters of traditional rule by direct heirs of the House of Bourbon dynasty were labelled the legitimist reaction. In the Third Republic, the monarchists were the reactionary faction renamed conservative; these forces saw "reaction" as a legitimate response to the rash "action" of the French Revolution, hence there is nothing inherently derogatory in the term reactionary and it is sometimes used to describe the principle of waiting for an opponent's action to take part in a general reaction.
In Protestant Christian societies, reactionary has described those supporting tradition against modernity. In the 19th century, reactionary denoted people who idealized feudalism and the pre-modern era—before the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution—when economies were agrarian, a landed aristocracy dominated society, a hereditary king ruled and the Roman Catholic Church was society's moral centre; those labelled as "reactionary" favoured the aristocracy instead of the middle class and the working class. Reactionaries opposed parliamentarism; the Thermidorian Reaction was a movement within the revolution against perceived excesses of the Jacobins. On 27 July 1794, Maximilien Robespierre's Reign of Terror was brought to an end; the overthrow of Robespierre signalled the reassertion of the French National Convention over the Committee of Public Safety. The Jacobins were suppressed, the prisons were emptied and the Committee was shorn of its powers. After the execution of some 104 Robespierre supporters, the Thermidorian Reaction stopped the use of the guillotine against alleged counterrevolutionaries, set a middle course between the monarchists and the radicals and ushered in a time of relative exuberance and its accompanying corruption.
With the Congress of Vienna, inspired by Tsar Alexander I of Russia, the monarchs of Russia and Austria formed the Holy Alliance, a form of collective security against revolution and Bonapartism. This instance of reaction was surpassed by a movement that developed in France when, after the second fall of Napoleon, the Bourbon Restoration or reinstatement of the Bourbon dynasty, ensued; this time it was to be a constitutional monarchy, with an elected lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. The Franchise was restricted to men over the age of forty, which indicated that for the first fifteen years of their lives they had lived under the ancien régime. King Louis XVIII was worried that he would still suffer an intractable parliament, he was delighted with the ultra-royalists, or Ultras, whom the election returned, declaring that he had found a chambre introuvable an "unfindable house". It was the Declaration of Saint-Ouen. Before the French Revolution, which radically and bloodily overthrew most aspects of French society's organisation, the only way constitutional change could be instituted was by extracting it from old legal documents that could be interpreted as agreeing with the proposal.
Everything new had to be expressed as a righteous revival of something old that had lapsed and had been forgotten. This was the means used for diminished aristocrats to get themselves a bigger piece of the pie. In the 18th century, those gentry whose fortunes and prestige had diminished to the level of peasants would search diligently for every ancient feudal statute that might give them something; the "ban," for example, meant. Therefore, these gentry came to the French States-Gene
Reform Judaism is a major Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its ethical aspects to the ceremonial ones, a belief in a continuous revelation intertwined with human reason and intellect, not centered on the theophany at Mount Sinai. A liberal strand of Judaism, it is characterized by a lesser stress on ritual and personal observance, regarding Jewish Law as non-binding and the individual Jew as autonomous, openness to external influences and progressive values; the origins of Reform Judaism lay in 19th-century Germany, where its early principles were formulated by Rabbi Abraham Geiger and his associates. It is identified with progressive political and social agendas under the traditional Jewish rubric Tikkun Olam, or "Repairing of the World". Tikkun Olam is a central motto of Reform Judaism, action for its sake is one of the main channels for adherents to express their affiliation; the movement's greatest center today is in North America.
The various regional branches sharing these beliefs, including the American Union for Reform Judaism, the Movement for Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism in Britain, the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, are all united within the international World Union for Progressive Judaism. Founded in 1926, the WUPJ estimates it represents at least 1.8 million people in 50 countries: close to a million registered adult congregants, as well as numerous unaffiliated individuals who identify with it. This makes it the second-largest Jewish denomination worldwide, its inherent pluralism and great importance placed on individual autonomy impede any simplistic definition of Reform Judaism. They warrant and obligate further modification and reject any fixed, permanent set of beliefs, laws or practices. A clear description became challenging since the turn toward a policy favouring inclusiveness over a coherent theology in the 1970s; this overlapped with what researchers termed as the transition from "Classical" to "New" Reform in America, paralleled in the other, smaller branches across the world.
The movement ceased stressing principles and core beliefs, focusing more on the personal spiritual experience and communal participation. This shift was not accompanied by a distinct new doctrine or by the abandonment of the former, but rather with ambiguity; the leadership allowed and encouraged a wide variety of positions, from selective adoption of halakhic observance to elements approaching religious humanism. The declining importance of the theoretical foundation, in favour of pluralism and equivocalness, did draw large crowds of newcomers, it diversified Reform to a degree that made it hard to formulate a clear definition of it. Early and "Classical" Reform were characterized by a move away from traditional forms of Judaism combined with a coherent theology. Critics, like Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan, warned that Reform became more of a Jewish activities club, a means to demonstrate some affinity to one's heritage in which rabbinical students do not have to believe in any specific theology or engage in any particular practice, rather than a defined belief system.
In regard to God, while some voices among the spiritual leadership approached religious and secular humanism – a tendency that grew from the mid-20th century, both among clergy and constituents, leading to broader, dimmer definitions of the concept – the movement had always maintained a theistic stance, affirming the belief in a personal God. Early Reform thinkers in Germany clung to this precept; the God-Idea as taught in our sacred Scripture" as consecrating the Jewish people to be its priests. It was grounded on a wholly theistic understanding, although the term "God-idea" was excoriated by outside critics. So was the 1937 Columbus Declaration of Principles, which spoke of "One, living God who rules the world"; the 1976 San Francisco Centenary Perspective, drafted at a time of great discord among Reform theologians, upheld "the affirmation of God... Challenges of modern culture have made steady belief difficult for some. We ground our lives and communally, on God's reality." The 1999 Pittsburgh Statement of Principles declared the "reality and oneness of God".
British Liberal Judaism affirms the "Jewish conception of God: One and indivisible and immanent, Creator and Sustainer". The basic tenet of Reform theology is a belief in a continuous, or progressive, occurring continuously and not limited to the theophany at Sinai, the defining event in traditional interpretation. According to this view, all holy scripture of Judaism, including the Pentateuch, were authored by human beings who, although under divine inspiration, inserted their understanding and reflected the spirit of their consecutive ages. All the People Israel are a further link in the chain of revelation, capable of reaching new insights: religion can be renewed without being dependent on past conventions; the chief promulgator of this concept was Abraham Geiger considered the founder of the movement. After critical research led him to regard scripture