It has six basic characteristics, which serve to define the fundamental institutions that make it a distinct type of system. These are as follows.
1. Open. Everything within AE is open. This breaks down as:
i) The institution of private property, which closes off most things to most people, does not exist. All property is 'open' to everyone, or in other words, there is no such thing as private property.
ii) The closure of most knowledge to most people does not exist. Instead there is universal deep education so that all knowledge domains, skills, and the activities of the world are open to everyone.
iii) There is no money (see more below), so everything is open in the sense that everyone is free to acquire what they need.
iv) All institutions are open to everyone – from the professions, to government, to workplaces.
2. Participatory. There is general participation by everyone in the institutions that comprise the economy, and that organize it.
Everyone participates in the management of their workplaces, their local area, their regional government, and any other workplaces or institutions in which they happen to take an interest, or by which they are affected. There are no barriers to this participation. Its basis is the free, voluntary inclination of individuals.
3. Democratic. All the institutions within the economy are run by direct democracy. The procedures by which this is implemented differ according to the particular institution. In the case of small workplaces, it might mean an equal share of management, and consensual agreement. In medium-sized neighborhoods, it may involve regular meetings of residents voting on important issues. In the case of regional economic policies, it would mean electronic forums in which everyone is free to contribute to discussions, and then has a vote on the implementation of distilled policies. In short, every decision which has to be taken has a democratic basis, and the institutional framework to realize it.
The principle underlying democratic participation for many matters is that people have a say in proportion to how heavily they are affected. Therefore, for example, not just those working in an institution, but all those who use it or supply it with goods, or who are in any way affected by its activities, also have a say in how it is run, but their say is weighted in accordance with how affected they are. Democratic participation for individuals therefore extends well beyond merely where they work and live, should they desire this.
The principle underlying democratic participation for other matters is obligatory participation. These are those matters which significantly affect everyone's life, whether they are aware of it or not. This includes such areas as basic laws, the allocation of significant resources to different economic areas, and general policies on things like education – in other words, political matters.
4. Non-monetary. AE does not use money. Instead, things are measured for economic purposes in the appropriate natural units (such as tonnes of coal, meters of carpet, watts of power and so on). Different types of labor are likewise measured in their natural units (minutes of consultation time of a specialist, hours of building work of such-and-such an intensity and skill, and so on. Many types of labor, such as poetry writing or graphic designing, will of course not have a simple unit of measurement).
Economic data on levels of demand and supply (measured in these natural units), for all the resources within the economy, at all levels (local, regional, world) and in all sectors, is collected by information agencies. All economic actors – workplaces, individuals, regional budget forums – make use of this data, which is universally and freely available.
The 'price' of a good is specified in an array or list of all the constituent resources and labor processes that go into making it. These arrays provide the information needed for people to make economic decisions; in particular, comparisons of various different economic options. Handling of these arrays will usually be an expert job, just as in reality it is today. Judgments on the best use of resources in any particular situation, by such experts utilizing these arrays, are the basic foundation of Angelic Economics.
All allocation of resources is decided upon in the democratic structures of every institution, on the basis of these expert judgments.
5. Free. All objects, opportunities and experiences are free. And people are also entirely free to work where, at whatever level, and for whatever amount of time they wish, with no effect on what they are entitled to claim.
The only exception to this concerns the area of boring and unpleasant tasks, which are divided up among all people equally - as the fairest way of allocating this work, which would not otherwise be done voluntarily.
6. Multiform. AE does not have any of the pressures to uniformity that characterize the current economic system.
In their absence, and because of the voluntary nature of people's participation in economic activity, a multitude of different forms of organization, institutions, and people would flourish.
As well as these six fundamental characteristics, three further, more derivative features of Angelic Economics are particularly notable.
1. Technological Sophistication. AE would be a great deal more scientifically and technologically advanced than today's economy. The basic reason for this is the huge increase in the number of people pursuing scientific research.
2. Two-hour work day. AE would produce the same level of output as today's economy with the equivalent of two hours a day of labor per person. The increase in productivity from a number of sources, and the lack of waste, lie behind this.
3. Civilized. AE removes all the economic pressures that give rise today to a general degradation in culture, and would instead see the growth of a humane society. It also promotes those inclinations in humanity which are most exploratory and self-transcending. AE would provide the basis for a heightening of human beings.