All Humans: Priceless

photo credit: diversity untitled blue

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 Copiosis 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.

Kindness, unkindness, and genetics

Nurture Nature NeitherI get inspired when people ask questions that stimulate improvements to our innovation.  The following came to me via a Facebook post.

How do we decide which human behaviors are more desirable than others? If it’s true that our political leanings (the way we view the world) are heavily influenced by genetics, how do we then peacefully find common ground here? Can we even?…/Biology_and_political_orientation

Let’s see how we can address this in Copiosis.

I don’t know about the studies listed on that Wikipedia page, so I ignore them and respond assuming genetics determines political orientation.

No one decides what human behaviors are more desirable than others in Copiosis, except in the most general sense. That general sense is expressed as a question:

Does the behavior make people and the planet better off?

Pretty simple question to answer if you have a vast amount of time to determine the answer, and a vast number of people willing to help come up with the answer. In Copiosis, the Copiosis organization is responsible for analyzing producer outcomes including determining (through the net-benefit calculation) how much better off people and the planet are.

The Copiosis organization is all-volunteer and open to anyone.  The net-benefit calculation is managed by the Copiosis organization with input from society through a recurring series of citizen juries not unlike our grand juries today.

I would imagine that an enormous number of people would contribute their time and skills to the Copiosis organization. Doing so would earn good quantities of NBR, because these people contribute hugely to the planet and to people by making the system successful.  People also will contribute to feel good. While I’m not sure how genetics determines political affiliation, I do know we are hard wired to want to help our fellow humans.

So deciding what behaviors are desirable or not becomes an expression of helping our human family, not politics. I believe politics arises when need forces groups with different views to work together to make critical decisions in an environment where conditions exacerbate contention, resentment, and fear, thereby destroying collaboration.

Rather than focusing on whether genetics plays a role in political orientation, and whether that political orientation prevents desired behavior, it may be more productive to eliminate the conditions that tend to give rise to politics in the first place. We can do that by through these four steps:

1.  Making earning a living obsolete   Allowing others to have their way often jeopardizes our livelihoods (the ability to earn a living or maintain said living after it has been achieved).  Environmental protection laws and regulations are seen by industry as actually or potentially limiting their ability to earn income, provide jobs (contribute to others), and meet consumer demand.  Creating policies enforcing fair wages are seen by capitalists as, among many things, impinging on the free job market.  Capitalists see such policies as affecting their freedom to run their business as they see fit, which affects their ability to squeeze as much profits from their company as they believe they deserve.

Earning a living can mean many things, depending on one’s economic situation.  For poor people, it can mean getting food on the table and not losing the roof over their head.  For middle-income earners it can mean putting one’s children through private school, or owning the dream house, car, or other object.  For rich people it means avoiding the shame and embarrassment of losing one’s station.

Whatever it means, earning a living brings with it intense emotional reactions when it is put at risk.  Doing away with the need to earn a living frees people up in ways we rarely experience today.  Even those having lots of money don’t have the experience they would if they didn’t have to worry about losing all the money they earned, which seems to be a prime worry of the rich.

Enabling people to give up this concern releases a significant amount of resistance.  With that resistance gone, consensus on solutions can come much easier.

2. Eliminating perceived scarcity as the basis of our economics   When you think the pie is limited and that if someone else gets a slice there are fewer slices available for you, that causes you to become stingy.  Stingy people aren’t able to find and agree on solutions easily, even solutions that make sense or avert catastrophes.  They are too focused on their potential loss or the other person’s imagined gain, usually at their own expense.

Our current system depends heavily on all kinds of perceived scarcity.  Scarcity makes people act crazy, and not only on Black Friday. A particularly nasty aspect of scarcity concerns wealth.  A person is financially rich only in comparison to those who are not.  In order for you to be rich, there must be people who have less than you.  If everyone is financially rich—if there are no poor people—how would you know that you’re rich?

When we eliminate perceived scarcity, you will be able to relax.  You’ll be able to consider alternatives that perhaps you didn’t consider before.  In that lightness of being, you’ll become more amenable to working with others instead of against them.

There are still issues of morality to consider.  Moral issues can be affected by scarcity.  There’s a kind of scarcity for some Christians in access to heaven for example—if you haven’t gotten Jesus’ blessing, you probably aren’t getting in.  Perhaps this is why many Christians are against abortion.  Moral loggerheads may be more easily resolved when the perception of scarcity is eliminated.  I can imagine how that comes about, but it’s too much to write about in this post.

3.   Eliminating debt and the ability to get into it   Being in debt today creates severe psychological effects so pernicious that you probably think these effects are normal.  Feeling stressed out, cursing out total strangers on the highway, domestic violence are not the result of indebtedness alone.  But you can bet being in debt exacerbates many of these.  Keeping a job you hate because you have bills to pay and children to feed, staying married to a man for fear of becoming unable to pay your bills, staying married to a woman for fear of losing half your savings and a large portion of your ongoing income, denying one’s dreams for fear of running out of money—these decisions are often made because of debt.  When debt is no longer a problem, a lot of stress we experience in the world is eliminated.

If we combine debt elimination with job elimination—making unemployment impossible—then people no longer need to worry about a decision, such as an aggressively earth-favorable environmental policy, threatening their livelihoods.

4. Eliminating power dynamics resulting from one group of people controlling what another group earns for their effort (capital vs. labor)   The game as it is played today has a small group of people (capitalists) determining how much money you get in return for your labor.  Usually, this amount of money is hardly enough in your estimation.  What’s more, that same group of people decide how much of the money you earn must be forfeited so that you can benefit from various services that others like you are performing in exchange for their income.

Deep down, most of us resent this part of the game.  Nearly all of us believe we are worth far more than we earn.  Much of the time, the factors used by people who control your pay include your talent and skills.  Often, however, other factors—such as gender, sexual orientation, cultural or religious affiliation, competition (reward scarcity), and the desire for profit—also affect your income.

When your income is in large part determined by factors having nothing to do with your skills, it is natural to feel resentment.  Resentment naturally causes you to want to blame someone for how you feel.  This leaves you open to misinterpreting what you see and hear, particularly what you hear from people such as political leaders, radio and television news personalities, and others whose incomes derive in part by how many of you listen to what they say.  It is a natural result then to blame other groups of people—non-Christians, immigrants, Muslims, tree huggers, Democrats, etc., for your economic situation.  They become your enemy, and it’s difficult to make good decisions in your best interest when you have to make those decisions with input from your enemy.

Accomplishing these four things is a monumental task, and doing it while capitalism remains in tact is impossible.  Copiosis eliminates them handily, leaving people free from stresses and motivations for wanting to control other people and their opinions, what others get and don’t get, and others’ ability to determine what we get or don’t get, etc.  With these stressors eliminated, people become kinder, more broad-minded, and open to possibilities.

What about genetics?

Nature vs. nurture.  Do genetics really play a role in people’s political views and by extension shape their ideas of what a better world looks like?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’ve spoken to a lot of right-wingers, and I know many left-leaning people.  In one-on-one conversations, especially with people in the former group, I’ve been delighted to discover that they share the same desire everyone else does:

  • They want to get along with others.
  • The want others to get along with them.
  • They want a safe place for their children to grow up.
  • They want a clean environment.
  • They want a world without war.
  • They want prosperity for all.

Of course, they have conditions they believe must occur before their desires can materialize, and therein lies the trouble.  I believe that those conditions are false and that they arise from the pressure of earning a living, living with perceived scarcity, being in debt, and having one’s income subject to another’s decisions.

Everyone has the capacity to be kind.  What keeps that tendency from surfacing often are the short-term fears:  the need to earn a living, the fear that others are going to determine my fate, and the perception that there’s not enough (of whatever) to go around.

Eliminating the origin of these fears will go a long way to creating the world we all want to see.  Humanity will take it from there.

How to rid ourselves of the credit problem


Traditional economies create the need for loans and interest. They also cause rapid fluctuations in the money supply, leading to recessions, inflation and such. This has been our reality for many years. How does Copiosis operate without credit?

Money in Copiosis Economies comes into existence when earned and ceases to exist when spent.  It is never transferred from one account to another nor from one person to another.  Any dollar that exists is uniquely the property of one person.  It never has belonged to anyone else and it never will belong to anyone else.  Therefore, the money cannot be loaned or borrowed.  Credit simply does not exist.

For the ordinary person, daily life in Copiosis is pretty much the same as now except that instead of being in debt one is on the “pay as you go” plan.  If one wants to buy something, one saves up the money until one has enough to buy the item (good or service) and then one can buy the item, “paying cash” as it were.  This means that one never has any bills to pay and one never, ever has to pay interest.

Today, people have real trouble saving up money because they have to buy everything they consume.  That is, they either have to rent or buy housing, and pay for food, clothing, and medical care, not to mention taxes.  They have to contribute to social security and pension plans.  When one looks at one’s pay stub there are all sorts of deductions.  For most people much of what’s left has to be spent on just staying alive.  Very little is left over for the luxuries of life.

In the Copiosis economy, the only thing one has to pay for is Luxuries.  That is, everything else (Necessities) one obtains without paying.  Those who give Necessities to others are paid, but not by the consumer.  Therefore, it is easy to save money since it buys only Luxuries.  Whatever one earns one can keep or spend right away, but one is never forced to spend money.

Business and credit

But that’s just the consumer’s point of view.  What about someone in business?  How would you function in business without credit?

The first difference in doing business in Copiosis is that one cannot buy anything.  Sure, if you have money you can buy Luxuries for your own use or to give to friends, but those Luxuries have nothing to do with your business.  In a Copiosis economy, if you are in retail you will need a store, you will need stock, and you will need clerks and others to help operate the business.  Since you can’t give anyone else your money, (like video game points, it comes into existence in your account when earned and ceases to exist when spent) what can you offer them to get them to work with you?

You can offer them a chance to benefit others.  In a Copiosis economy that’s how people earn money, by doing things which have good consequences for others.  So if you have a computer store, for example, your clerks could benefit others by helping them to choose just the right computer, software, peripherals, and accessories to meet their needs.  Since Volunteers will be paying your clerks, your business won’t need to budget for staff.

What about the building your shop is in?  Your shop is a business, not a Luxury so you won’t need to buy or rent the building either.  Someone who owned the building gave you the building or at least permitted you to set up your shop there.  That’s how the owner can earn money, by helping you to help others.  When you get paid for the good your shop does, they get paid some as well.  The better you do, the better they do.  So to obtain a building to open your shop in, you will have persuaded the owner that the use you will make of that building will provide more benefits to others than any of the other potential uses for it.  That way the building doesn’t cost you money either.

Finally, what about the stock your shop will sell (if it is Luxuries) or give to others (if Necessities or Capital Goods)?  How do you get that stock?  Well to generate Net Benefit*, the producers of your stock items have to get their wares into the hands of people who will benefit from their use.  These producers will be looking for people who will see to it that their product is used to produce the maximum benefit.  The producers will happily give you stock for your store if they believe that you will give or sell those items to people who will greatly benefit from their possession, because that will earn the most money for the producers; so you don’t need money to acquire stock for your store.

The same thing goes for store utilities and all the other “overhead” that are needed to make a functioning business; such as office supplies, advertising.  And in every case the money your suppliers are paid doesn’t come from you but as a result of how much benefit you produce for others using their goods/equipment.

In order to get other people to work with you, and to give you their products, and to allow you to use their building: you must have a good reputation.  If you lie, cheat, and/or steal, word will soon get out… and no one will be willing to work with you or provide you with any sort of capital.  Therefore, you will have incentive to be very careful in how you treat the building, your stock of merchandise, and especially how you treat your employees.  Remember, you aren’t paying them.  They can get along just fine with no money at all so they really don’t need this particular work.  On the other hand, their reputation as good workers who do a good job and are easy to work with is what makes other people want to have them as co-workers.  Therefore, they have a vested interest in doing good things while working with you.  In other words, you are all on the same side, the same team and it’s obvious to all.  You are not in a zero-sum situation because the more money one of you makes the more the others make.  You can’t win if they lose and they can’t lose if you win.

Finally, as a store owner, you can’t lose money.  The worst you can do is make no money at all.  Any money you already have is not at risk.  You don’t need to buy insurance since your business needs no money.  You can’t be sued for money.  You don’t need to provide pensions or medical insurance for your staff.  You don’t have to worry about government regulation since there is none.  So your business needs no payroll office nor any of a host of other expensive, labor intensive, bothersome bureaucratic procedures and processes that produce paper shuffling but do nobody any good (except the person paid to do them!).  And, of course, your business does not have to pay any interest on any loan. Your business has no expenses at all.

*Net Benefit = Overall Benefit – Negative Consequences

Insurance is a relic


Insurance is available to provide protection against all sorts of unpleasant contingencies.  If one has property one can obtain insurance against it being damaged, destroyed, or stolen.  One can get insurance to defray the costs of illness or even death.  The forms of insurance that are available are many and varied, and much of modern business would be difficult to carry on if it were not for insurance.  It is, of course, a feature of traditional economies.

In a Copiosis economy, there is no insurance at all, of any kind, for anybody.  This is because money cannot be transferred from one account to another.  Money comes into existence in one’s account when earned and ceases to exist when spent.  Therefore, one could not pay premiums and one could not collect money from a policy.  Does this mean that people are defenseless against disaster?  How does one mitigate the consequences of unfortunate events?

Let’s consider life insurance first.  One buys life insurance in a traditional economy in order to cover the cost of a funeral and provide for one’s dependents in the event of one’s death.  In a Copiosis economy, one’s dependents will be just fine so long as material possessions are concerned.  They will be given food, clothing, shelter/housing, medical care, and education without having to pay for it because those who gave them these things would be paid for doing so, whoever they are.  Though no one is obligated to give Necessities to them, they will be paid for such giving, which is enough to see that your kin will have the Necessities.  Also, if one’s dependents have earned money, they will not need to spend any of that money if they don’t want to.  Therefore one doesn’t need life insurance.

What about medical insurance?  People will still get sick and become injured, but medical care is one of the necessities of life, and those who practice medicine will be paid for doing so.  Thus, one needs no medical insurance either:  Medical treatment doesn’t cost money in a Copiosis economy.

But what about insuring property?  If the property is a necessity, one gets it without paying.  If the property is Capital Goods, one gets those without paying also.  All that’s left is luxuries.  If one doesn’t want one’s luxuries destroyed one will have to be careful with them.  Protecting one’s luxuries is up to the owner, of course, but providing places of safekeeping for valuable objects is a beneficial service for those who own very valuable luxuries, so one would be paid for providing such places.  Therefore, the property owner can store that jewelry or that painting in a vault and pay a rental.  Fortunately, theft in a Copiosis economy is quite rare so that is of small concern.  Finally, the loss of luxuries, though regrettable, is hardly going to damage the economy or result in harm to others.

Someone recently asked a question which merited clarifying some things.

When one buys a luxury item, that transaction doesn’t happen like it does today. Today, when someone buys something, the price they pay covers the expense (the cost) of things used to make that thing, including the cost of labor. But in Copiosis, NBR doesn’t pay for costs because there are no costs. Giving up NBR for a luxury “unlocks” the opportunity to own the luxury in question. Inputs contributing to creating that luxury get provided by those who own them at no cost to anyone.

Once someone consumes that luxury, everyone who provided materials or supplies that went into making the luxury starts getting NBR. Those NBR payments continue so long as the person consuming the luxury keeps benefiting from it.

If a luxury house, for example burns down, people can’t live in it, meaning, the house isn’t being consumed and producing benefit. So all the people who contributed to the house construction stop getting NBR for that house. Once rebuilt and occupied, NBR flows resume, presuming of course the same people who offered supplies offered more supplies for the rebuild.

What about the various kinds of business insurance?  Those policies are insurance against damage or destruction of Capital Goods such as buildings, equipment, or products.  Again, we note that NBR doesn’t buy such things, so there would be no point in a policy which gave a person money for their loss.

The absence of insurance eliminates an entire category of the traditional economy’s crime from Copiosis economies.  The resources which are devoted to the insurance industry in a traditional economy are devoted to production in a Copiosis economy.  Much more attention is paid to preventing loss rather than to recovering money to compensate for loss.  The lawsuits which today are a byproduct of insurance are completely absent in a Copiosis economy.