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Thu Apr 20, 2017, 01:16 PM

A possible future, or, is this progressive enough for you?

I have been following political discussions during the 2016 campaign, and realized that there was a bloc of people who thought of themselves as "progressive," even more liberal than your garden variety Democrats. So I thought it might me useful to outline a truly progressive vision for the future.

My plan involves completely scrapping the notion that any human being can own land, which is the founding principle of capitalism. The most people could do in this progressive plan would be to rent land for a period of time for a specific purpose, like farming it, or building vehicles on it, or living on it. People cannot "own" land: if anything, the earth owns us, just like giraffes. The earth has been reminding us of this truth recently, as pollution generated in the U.S., or China, or India travels freely anywhere the winds blow. A "country" as we call it, has always been a hunk of land whose borders could be defended by a government or other ruler. The earth doesn't care who we imagine the ruler to be, it circulates storms and pollution everywhere. We won't actually have countries any more, but territories flavored by historical traditions, a Canadian territory, a U.S. one, and certainly a British one. Since everybody in the world would have enough to eat and a job, and since borders would have disappeared, the need to defend them would also disappear. On the whole, I think this plan gets reid of war, too.

In this vision, there would remain an economic system which would allow for exactly the same useful activities that capitalism allows: provision of food, medical care, trade, and the exchange of ideas and innovations. But this economy wouldn't be based on money as we know it, but on hours worked by real people. There would be two kinds of hours worked: community hours, and personal hours. The community hours would be owed to the community to sustain vital functions: grow food, cook and distribute it, care for the elderly, and providing transportation to people who need to get to and from their jobs. Community hours would take approximately half your work day, and the other half would be devoted to working for personal hours, the accumulation of which would enable the other side of the economy to function. With your personal hours, you could buy a nice guitar, or materials to make a beautiful hand-knit sweater, or lipsticks and volleyballs and toys for children. The community fours would guarantee that every adult would have useful work that obviously supported the community; personal hours would allow for the pursuit of personal dreams, like writing songs, playing in rock bands, designing your own clothing or a computer app to make the common life of your community function better. Rather than pieces of paper whose value everyone agrees on, the economy would be based on the value of the hours you've worked. It would be possible to become relatively "rich" in personal hours, but the tendency would be to save up to buy a particular good or service, which would plow your hours back into the economy.

This system doesn't so much tinker with capitalism, as replace it with something much more earth-friendly, and people friendly. I think we are all equipped with imaginations, and that we have gotten too used to imagining small changes to monolithic systems. Why not imagine something really new, really different, and seriously progressive?

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Reply A possible future, or, is this progressive enough for you? (Original post)
planetc Apr 2017 OP
MichMary Apr 2017 #1
planetc Apr 2017 #2

Response to planetc (Original post)

Sat Apr 22, 2017, 03:42 PM

1. Ooooookay. A couple of questions:

1) Who would the rent be paid to? You envision government withering away, so, who would collect those rents?

2) What would happen if the rents weren't paid?

3) If you rent the land to live on, and build a house on it, and then the "landlord," (whoever that may be) decides to evict you, what happens to the house you built?

4) Are everyone's "hours" equally valuable?

5) Is a surgeon's hours equal to the person who stocks the shelves in the grocery store/food pantry?

6) Is a half day 4 hours (half a current work day,) or is it 12 hours (half an actual day?)

6) If your heart transplant takes more hours than the surgeon's "half day," does he/she just leave?

7) or, will there be alternating "half days," so that someone else finishes up?

8) Does that system seem "people friendly" to you?

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Response to MichMary (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 22, 2017, 08:16 PM

2. Unfortunately government won't wither away. But it will convert to management of all resources.

1) Rents are paid to the community government, who manage the whole community, and are the "landlord."

2) The CG would take the rent, and food cost, and medical cost, out of your central "bank" of hours. You have control over the value of your personal hours.

3) The CG is the landlord of everything: land, buildings, factories. You ask for permission to do what you want to, and get it or not. The CG would ordinarily have no reason to evict anyone, since everyone had agreed to all the main elements of whatever agreement had been worked out.

4) Yes.

5) A surgeon's hours are worth the same as a stocker's hours. Both their educations are free, of course.

6)a Basically half a work day, ideally.

6)b For health care workers, they might well work longer shifts than others. Their common fund hours would convert to personal hours halfway through their work day, if it ran longer than four hours.

7) Lots of jobs will be scheduled so they can be done by two people working a half day each. No one will clean floors or do surgery all day every day unless they want to.

8) The system I imagine seems a lot more people friendly to me than the one we've got now.

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