What’s Wrong: Money is designed to compel endless economic growth. Every dollar in every wallet or bank account was loaned into existence with interest. That means the amount of debt is always more than the total amount of money in circulation, putting us all into competition with each other for scarce money. By artificially manipulating interests rates, central banks can (and do) cause economic and social mayhem with a few taps on a keyboard.
Copiosis Solution: Copiosis uses a different kind of money called net benefit reward (NBR). NBR is the reward that society gives people for creating a net benefit. A net benefit is created when the positive aspects of a certain activity outweigh the negative ones. In capitalism, money is earned whenever you can make a profit, regardless of the social and environmental consequences. Some kinds of economic activity do create a net positive effect on society such as libraries, museums, food, and transportation. Other activities, like the industrial, factory farming of animals, create a negative net benefit when all the external costs are factored in. Even so, the practice continues because it generates profit. Profit is blind. However, Copiosis recognizes and accounts for all outcomes of a given activity, rewarding only those activities which provide a positive net benefit to society.
In Copiosis, economic activity will be monitored by an all volunteer “Payer organization” made up of people who are experts in their fields. These “Payers” gather data used to determine how much NBR is awarded. Net benefit is awarded only after it is quantifiably shown how people and the planet have been made better off. This essentially eliminates all activities that do not create a net benefit not by law, but by simply deciding not to reward those activities.
People can redeem their net benefit rewards for luxury items beyond the basic necessities, which are given to all for free. People may also receive net benefit reward for offering luxury items, so long as the consumption of those luxury items does not create a negative net benefit to society. Net benefit reward is both virtual and non-transferable, meaning only the person who owns the net benefit reward can redeem the rewards for luxury goods and services. Once the net benefit reward is redeemed, that particular NBR is retired.
What’s Wrong: Our entire global society, with the exception of Bhutan, measures success by the percentage growth in GDP from the previous year. If more goods and services (of any kind) are exchanged for money, we say that society is progressing. Notice that no attention is put on to the nature of the economic activity. If you have to spend $1000 protecting your website from hackers and malware, that’s a good thing for the economy. If your washer breaks down and you replace it with a new one, that’s good for the economy too, nevermind the resources were wasted. GDP counts all expenditures as positive expenditures, and this is why the current economy has become predatory. Having exhausted the meeting of legitimate needs of people, the economy has now started to create problems for people, forcing them to pay for the solutions. Medical care, for example, is so expensive no one can really afford it. So people must buy health insurance, which has its own problems and often fails to cover medical needs, thus creating a phenomena called medical bankruptcy. The insurance industry at large creates trillions of dollars of profit while affording “protection” for situations the system itself creates! That’s because, at the end of the day, the economy must grow or it ceases to function.
Copiosis Solution: Instead of maximizing GDP, the goal of Copiosis is to maximize net benefit. In today’s economy, people are free to pursue any activity that generates a profit even if it causes a severe net detriment to other people, our economy and the planet. In Copiosis, any activity that doesn’t create a net benefit will cease to continue. This won’t happen because government passes a law prohibiting that activity. It will happen naturally. In Copiosis, only activities that create a positive net benefit for society will be rewarded, meaning that no one will be rewarded for activities that do not on the whole make people and the planet better off.
The Copiosis economy is no longer under any pressure to grow. Unlike money, NBR is not scarce as there is enough of it to be awarded to people whose activities create a net benefit. Every single person will be incentivized to engage in actions that produce a positive effect on society and be rewarded for doing so and our measure of progress will be linked to those efforts. So many activities that go unrewarded today such as child-rearing, looking after the elderly, mentoring, and those that aren’t done today because they threaten industries or jobs or are “too costly”, will get done and be rewarded in Copiosis.
Redefining The Social Contract
What’s Wrong: Human productivity has reached a level where we could easily provide for every human need on the planet. The nature of money means that only those who have it can access the fruits of society. Very few people have achieved the ability to have autonomy over their own time. Meanwhile, the majority of us are being told to be happy that you can find a job at all. In capitalism, our individual survival is directly tied to our contribution to the economy. We live according to the assumption that every person must contribute. But the contribution must fit within certain parameters in order to earn money for that contribution. If we don’t contribute in this narrow range, we can’t survive. For most of human history, our survival depended on everyone putting in their “fair share”. With the kind of production capability available today, this assumption is no longer true (For example, in 1790 America, 90% of the population was needed to grow food to feed the population. Today, only 2% of people are needed to produce the food for the rest.) This production and efficiency explosion has created an abundant society, but our economics is built to thrive on scarcity. So instead of freeing people to pursue their passions, we force them to invent new, unnecessary goods and services and then convince people they can’t live without them, all while contributing to endless landfills and storage lockers.
Copiosis Solution: Whereas capitalism guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Copiosis also guarantees the right to food, shelter, education, and health care. But Copiosis is not socialism. It retains the incentives at the heart of capitalism, the idea that if you work hard, you will be rewarded with nice things. How does it do this without a government getting in the way? Copiosis creates a new kind of organization called the Payer organization which is responsible for observing and rewarding activities that create a net benefit. This organization is open to anyone that wants to be a part of it. While a mathematical algorithm is used to determine how much net benefit a particular action has produced, members of each local Payer organization may adjust each factor based on the priorities and desires of each local community. In Copiosis, human beings at the local level retain ultimate control over what constitutes a net benefit. In this way, people can thrive when the planet and other people thrive as well. Copiosis realigns our incentives with doing good, rather than simply making a buck any way you can.