In a previous post, I wrote about how using physical money is a terrible way to run civilization, mainly because money was created by governments to finance wars, not to make civilization work. Money and markets care little for people.
At the end of that post, I argued that we can do better. I believe net-benefit reward (NBR) is better way to reward people for creating things, taking risks, and making civilization work.
NBR is not like money
NBR is a value-based form of reward. Negative results (human harm, environmental damage, wasteful processes, etc.) merit no reward. Net-benefit reward quantifies the positive results of a given action and subtracts the quantified negative results of that action = net benefit.
NBR is given only after all the facts are known. Money doesn’t work that way. Producers in today’s systems can rake in a lot of dough well before the effects of their actions are known. Some of them are punished after the fact. Others get a financial slap on the hand compared to how much money they make. Cigarettes, the Corvair, pesticides, and other chemical compounds, and certain medical devices are great examples of production that earned producers a lot of money, while resulting in harm to people, the planet, or both.
NBR is non-transferrable. That eliminates the two-party transaction dilemma of unequal power, which gave rise to the saying “buyer beware.” Where there is a buyer and a seller nearly always there is unequal knowledge about the transaction, leading to an inequality in power. The one with more knowledge (more power) tends make the better deal.
In Copiosis, three-way transactions are the norm. When a consumer wants a product, she doesn’t hand her NBR over to the producer or the seller. The producer or sales person offers the good, and if the consumer accepts it, her NBR goes out of existence. Once the effects of her consumption show up in the real world, e.g., the consumer uses the product and sees some results from using it, the NBR algorithm (via the payer organization) rewards the producer and seller with NBR based on the perceived benefits to the consumer, to society, and to the planet. The producer and the sales person are rewarded by society, and this three-way transaction is unique to NBR.
Money is always backed by something, even if just a promise by government to make good on the debt the money represents. NBR is not backed by debt, gold, or other standard and doesn’t need to be. It is simply a measure of how well a producer’s action benefits people and the planet. The way NBR is used to obtain luxuries eliminates inflation, deflation, and other market fluctuations typical in capitalist systems.
The only thing determining the size of one’s net-benefit reward is how well one’s actions benefit the planet and the people on it. So if you’re a farmer and you raise crappy produce no one wants, you are rewarded accordingly. If you’re a scientist and you produce a lot of faulty conclusions, you get no reward.
On the other hand, if a farmer feeds a town with her apples, uses scrap wood to generate electricity, uses her “waste” apples to help the pig farmer down the street feed his pigs, and hosts kids on her farm as an educational experience every quarter, she gets a lot of NBR for all this beneficial action. You see?
The algorithm might be worth reading about: Here’s a link to the latest discussion on the current version.
About lazy bums
Let’s say someone doesn’t want to produce anything. Can he can still receive NBR? No. He’s producing no benefit for others or the planet, and still his necessities are provided to him at no cost by producers who earn NBR for keeping him and other people alive and well.
So it’s no big deal if folks don’t want to do anything in Copiosis. But my guess is that luxuries in Copiosis, just like today, will be so compelling that people will want to make other people and the planet better off because that’s the only way they can get them. What’s different in Copiosis vs. capitalism is that no one is forced to do anything. You don’t need NBR for your necessities. You can’t get into NBR debt. Your NBR can’t be transferred to someone else.
If you had no debt and you couldn’t make any, and if all your necessities were provided at no cost to you (including education and healthcare), what would you do with your time? Would you just sit around and be lazy? For a time, perhaps. My guess is most people would do things that benefit others or the planet. That’s what we are hard-wired to do. Copiosis and NBR unleash humanity to follow their hearts, their passions, their desires. The vast majority in the world today are decidedly NOT doing that at their jobs. In Copiosis, many jobs will go away because people will do things they like to do, not things they need to do to earn a living.
Of course, some people will be able to do more than others, thereby receiving greater rewards. No problem. You can’t amass power with NBR, because anyone’s NBR is worthless to everyone else. You can’t control others with your NBR, because NBR is non-transferable. NBR means no bribery.
What about the mentally or physically disabled? These people are well cared-for by family members or other people who are passionate about such work. In either case, providers are benefiting another human being, so they’re getting NBR.
Mentally and physically disabled people are rarely totally incapable. It’s just that their contribution is not often valued highly in our current system. These people can still read, write, talk, tell stories, lift things, care for animals … there will be many ways they can earn NBR.
What is the value of human life?
Every human is priceless. In Copiosis, we don’t assign worth to people or positions. We assign “worth” by measuring effects. If a high school student invents a cure for a disease, she will receive NBR when her invention cures people and not before. Everyone in Copiosis can earn unlimited NBR by benefitting others or the planet. Some may be limited due to aptitude and capability, but so what? They still have their necessities provided at no cost to them and there are plenty of ways for them to produce benefit for others, thereby receiving NBR.
Negative human elements are soothed in large measure by everything I just shared, although some will still be mean, nasty, jealous, and envious. Copiosis is not Utopia. However, the effects of such emotions are addressed much better in Copiosis than currently in the United States, and there are plenty of options for getting relief from such emotions and learning to handle them productively through counseling and other therapies, since healthcare is provided to all at no cost.
So, in essence, people grow-up in our system. It’s funny because we were just talking about how Copiosis demands that people grow-up in order to succeed in the new world it offers. This growing-up is already happening among the people helping to make Copiosis a reality. So I’m encouraged by that and buoyed in my belief that I know what I’m talking about 🙂
Job scarcity doesn’t exist
Some people will argue that there can only be so many of each type of job position in Copiosis and so those who don’t get one of those positions will likely feel envy, jealousy, or anger and will act from those emotions. It is impossible for there to be infinite amounts of the same position they would say.
There are plenty of opportunities for people to do the same work, or a derivative, in Copiosis. Job scarcity exists today because people are paid money for such positions and there is only so much money to go around making such positions limited. In Copiosis, people are rewarded for results. No matter how many people want to be carpenters, they can all be carpenters. Not everyone is passionate about carpentry, and natural limits will take care of distributing people into the right occupations. There will be plenty of opportunities to benefit people and the planet.
With NBR, Copiosis focuses producers on two things that have inestimable value: People and Earth. Rather than using something designed to finance the destruction of both of these through war, doesn’t it make sense to switch to something that honors the priceless value of both humanity and the planet?
I think so.