Basic Security: Our Real Goal

Money is simply a tool that exists in circumstances when there is scarcity within an economy. It is a way of measuring the scarcity-demand for something. It is therefore a way of restricting access to that something. But when a lot of people choose to charge for scarce items using money, it gives money itself value — value it otherwise would not have.

Imagine, for example, you went to a shop and tried to buy a sandwich, but the shopkeep said, “Sorry, we don’t take dollars. We only accept kindness.”

Confused, you’d ask, “Kindness? What’s that, and where do I get some?”

“Well,” the shopkeep would say, “You have to have a homeless person vouch for you. Their word is the currency that we take.”

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You can imagine that would create an interesting situation. Suddenly, the value of simply being a homeless person would go up. These people would also have more power over society. The same thing happens with any currency, even dollars. If the creation of dollars is controlled by a small group (as it is), and those dollars are what shopkeeps around the country ask for, then that group suddenly becomes very powerful over society.

This is the situation today. Too many people are asking for a single kind of currency, and because of that, the people who control that currency rule over the world at the expense of those who do not have that currency.

There are several ways to fix this situation.

Many Paths

First, we could reduce scarcity itself. If sandwiches are in high demand, then someone could figure out a way to make it so that anyone can make a sandwich easily. Then we wouldn’t need to bother with money to get a sandwich.

That’s probably the best way to deal with the problem, but if that’s not an option, and we’re forced to use money to decide who gets the sandwich, then we can at least make sure that no privileged group controls the creation of money. Instead, we can have everyone create their own kind of money, and make it simple to convert one money into a different money. This is the Group Currency approach.

A third way is to make it so that even if there is a privileged group that creates the money, the supply of it is constantly recirculated from people who have a lot of it to people who have a little of it. This is the approach Basic Income and Group Income take.

A fourth way is to turn time into a currency, because time is something everyone can easily measure, and no mortal has figured out how to create. However, not everyone feels time is fair, because one person may have put years into developing an esoteric skill that turns out to be important in the future but is currently in low demand, while another person may have spent a few months learning a basic skill that is in high demand.

And there may be other approaches. The point is:

One Destination

Our real goal with Group Income is not simply to “fix money”, but what we really want is to ensure basic security for everyone. Whether or not someone is 10 years old, is disabled, or wants to spend a year just learning math and physics, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to things like a roof over their head, healthy food, Internet, etc. Some societies have chosen to restrict access to such things behind money, and therefore we’re developing what is really just a bandaid to fix the damage that money as a tool creates.

Like clean air and clean water, everyone should have access to a clean bed and clean food, and money of any kind should play no role in that. That is the goal. Group Income is just one of many steps on the way to that goal.

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