Why socioeconomic problems are both burden and solution

Prediction.001“The soil, it appears, is suited to the seed, for it has sent its reticle downward, and it may now send its shoot upward also with confidence. Why has man rooted himself thus firmly in the earth, but that he may rise in the same proportion into the heavens above? For the nobler plants are valued for the fruit they bear at last in the air and light, far from ground….”

– Walden, Henry David Thoreau

 

I wrote before that some believe humanity’s end is here.

A different perspective: Darkest yet it gets ‘fore dawn.

Humanity may fizzle under weight of it’s self-inflicted calamities. What I find is how spectacularly inadequate we are at prediction: The cosmos and its purpose are far beyond human comprehension. So too human ingenuity.

That means my guess is as good as anyone else’s. Including the doomsayers.  What puts the odds in favor of this post is I’m taking action – as are others – to create a better reality than we have. Until there are too few for viable human reproduction, the task continues.

Escape Velocity

Perhaps pernicious problems are purposeful. Example: our space rockets require tremendous amounts of fuel to escape Earth’s pull. Heavy fuel. Yet our rockets carry that weight, plus the fuel tanks, to achieve Escape Velocity. Beyond Earth’s gravity, excess fuel burned, fuel stages ejected, the ship is free. Fuel is both burden and solution.

Pernicious problems orient humanity to important things. Intractable problems beget unreasonable solutions. Our best and brightest are not on Wall Street, in hedge funds, on trading floors. Those are the duped. The sheep. Our real bright stars are focused on goals that will “shoot [humanity] upward with confidence”. Rooting ourselves firmly in the earth through problems we create, we soon “may rise in the same proportion to the heavens”.

Achieving this escape velocity may be Challenge Number One. But spaceship humanity is fueled and ready.

Humanity isn’t over. We’re just getting started.

Greed Is A Great Way To Motivate People. Just not in capitalism

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I am getting a lot of questions from people from around the world about Copiosis.

Some of the questions are worthy of longer replies. Here is one of them:

How will individuals be motivated to add value to society if the basic needs are provided?

This is a common question I get. My experience is people who ask this question tend to believe other people must be motivated by the threat of not getting their basic needs met in order to do things. This underlying belief explains why actually, people in the United States, and elsewhere aren’t really free.

We have a specific definition of freedom. Real freedom. When you read it, you’ll discover no one is free in economies requiring people earn a living:

Real freedom

 

Real freedom: A person who is free can do nothing if that’s what they want to do. A person who wants to spend all their time learning to paint, play video games all day, or fish or whatever, can. And they can do those things (or anything else) without going hungry, living on the street, or getting care for their body (or mind) if necessary. If they’re free that is. They can also get all the education they need or want to learn or improve any skill while doing whatever they want without having to earn money to get those things. And…the person exercising their freedom can do so without anyone else having to do anything they don’t want to do to support that person.

We at Copiosis believe that people are better motivated to produce tremendous value only after their basic needs are met. Only then can they operate at the higher levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy, where higher order human expression comes out.

In economies today, people are negatively motivated to contribute to society. “Earning a living” motivates us all because we can’t get and maintain our basic needs without doing something that earns us money.

Welcome to wage slavery

This is a problem because the majority of people get stuck “earning a living”. They rarely have moments to express their talents in the highest and most valuable ways. Let alone refine them so that they become worthy of sharing and making an impact on the world.

To get to that level, they are taught they need education and “time”. But those two often end up costing people (increasing their debt).  So instead of getting to the point where their highest level expressions benefit society, they have to work more “paying jobs” to service their debt. This is wage slavery.

Most people never make it to that highly refined, world-changing skill level. Some do, after retirement. Some other brave people go against the system and manage to create value for society despite what people tell them. These are rare people though.

The rest are forced to “earn a living” in uninspiring jobs. Sometimes a person’s contribution to society is not only not valuable, it’s actually destructive. This is the case with drug dealers, pick-pocketers and others who commit crimes or enslave or abuse other people.

So, I think you can agree that the way we motivate people by forcing them to pay for things they need works in some cases, but in many, many cases it produces terrible results.

Freeing people offers better alternatives

Copiosis gives people positive motivation. First, by providing basic needs for everyone, people can relax and figure out the best way to express their talents. Suddenly they have time. They don’t have to worry about mortgages, debt, bills and other costs that come with simply living. They don’t have to worry about massive student loans they’ll have to pay off for the rest of their lives.

Second, we use what some people think is a negative – human greed – to inspire people to add net-positive value to society. If you look around, what people are really doing with the money they earn is they are using it to buy things to express themselves to themselves and to others.

They buy experiences and things that coincide with their interests, they obtain things that enhance their personality and characters, enrich their lives and generally make life more interesting and enjoyable.

In Copiosis, all these things are Luxuries. Luxuries can only be obtained in two ways:

  1. A person who owns the Luxury can transfer it to some other person, or
  2. The person who wants the Luxury can give up their Net Benefit Rewards (NBR) for it.

Obviously, there will not be enough people who own enough Luxuries for those people to give everyone Luxuries. So the main way people will obtain Luxuries is to give up NBR for them.

Now, in Copiosis, NBR serves only two purposes: it rewards Producers after-the-fact for the Net-Benefit they create. It also allows Producers access to Luxuries.

So, we motivate people through their greed: People want Luxuries. The more Luxuries the better. The main way they get them is do things which merit them NBR, then give up the NBR to get them. What’s different (among many other things) between Copiosis and today’s money economies is that the only way to get NBR is to create Net-Benefit. Net Benefit is defined as positive value to society minus the negative consequences of actions taken to produce that positive benefit.

People are greedy. There’s nothing wrong with that so long as that greed can be expressed in a context that makes that expression moral. Copiosis channels greed in a way that produces maximum positive benefit for all thereby gradually, gently, motivating all human beings to do things that create net positive value.

Copiosis is an innovation that eliminates market externalities, spurs innovation, and holds people accountable for their actions like nothing else in human history. 

Is your grandma a “greedy capitalist”?

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This is a misleading, inflammatory statement. It’s not a bad thing that corporations profit. Because when they do, your grandma can buy groceries.

We’re not in the business of defending capitalism. We’re in the business of gradually replacing it with something better.

That said, we want to set the record straight on an often-repeated meme: that “corporate profits” are bad.

Instead of these monies going into the hands of workers, they go into the greedy profiteers’ pockets some think.

This is a muddled topic. As usual, there are valid perspectives on both sides. However, ire raised by “thieving corporate profiteers” tends to be misguided.

The majority of shareholdings in public companies are “institutional investors”: organizations that invest money on behalf of their constituents, usually retirement portfolios, i.e. 401Ks and other savings and wealth-building instruments.

That means, the “greedy profiteers” benefitting from “profits going to corporations” are actually people like your mom, my mom and other folks trying to invest in or benefit from their retirement savings.

Dividends from these investments are what our parents and others are living on. “Dividends” are the same as corporate profits. They are money left over after all expenses are accounted for in a corporation.

So when a company reports profits or net income, that money is going into the hands of the company owners, which usually are workers….who have invested their wages in hopes that the corporation will be profitable thereby providing a retirement income stream for everyday people.

People like you and me.

That applies to public companies. What about private ones?

Well, that’s not so different.

Since they are private, we can’t really know where the net income is going. However, we do know institutional investors tend to make up the largest group of investors even in the private corporate investment sector.

In other words, it’s not accurate to claim “greedy one percenters” are pocketing all the profits and thus screwing workers and the rest of us.

In 1997 there were about 6,000 public companies in the US. As of 2017 there are only 3,000 or so. This article does a good job explaining the decline, including explaining that the decline in public companies results from things like mergers and such, leaving existing corporations larger and thus more profitable, which again, benefits the people, who are corporate owners through their wage-investments. An interesting point from the article:

Control of private companies falls into fewer hands, but that’s also true of some public companies with dual-class share arrangements. In both public and private markets, the biggest shareholders include institutions — such as mutual and pension funds — that represent broad swathes of the investing public. The most important difference is disclosure: Public companies provide a lot more financial information, valuable in assessing both their performance and that of the broader economy.

So even super-large companies generating massive profits still are distributing those profits to your parents and mine and others through institutional investors.

One thing I found particularly interesting is just because a company goes private doesn’t mean it is more profitable. The ratio of income between public and private corporations tends to hover right around 1:1 (see below).

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Interesting that private companies tend to perform no better than public ones. So private corporate profits are about the same as the regulated ones.

I didn’t know that. Did you?

So go ahead and rail against capitalism if you want. But for goodness sake, don’t make a fool of yourself and claim that capitalism allows corporations massive profits. The people benefitting from those profits are not boardroom masters, but the ordinary people in society who look just like your grandma.

 

 

 

What’s possible when money is not involved

Manoj MuskA main premise for building Copiosis:  Eliminate money as a constraining resource, and humanity will make things happen more rapidly, more innovatively.  Those things humanity makes will benefit far more people than goods money pays for today, thereby making humanity far more prosperous than it is today.

For those who think this is idiocy, I offer two potent examples: Elon Musk and Manoj Bhargava.

That first guy you probably already know.  As the former PayPal investor, founder of Space X, Tesla, Solar City, and the Powerwall home energy system, Elon Musk’s net worth is estimated to be over $10 billion.

Bhargava created 5-Hour Energy.  His net worth is around four billion dollars on what has become one of the most successful consumer products.  Both these men have no worries about money.  They are among the one percent.

“Wait a second,” you may be thinking.  “I thought you were going to give examples of people working without money.  Why are you instead glorifying the one percent?”

I’m talking about these two guys because by virtue of their innovations and investments, each has created for themselves a reality wherein money no longer prevents getting things done. Consider your own life.  I’m sure there are things you would love to do, but you can’t.  Often you can’t because you don’t have money to afford to to those things.  For Musk and Bhargava money doesn’t matter.  They aren’t restricted from doing something because it costs too much.  They aren’t constrained because they can’t afford to do something.  If they want to do something, they just do it.

In essence, Musk and Bhargava are operating in Copiosis realities.  The amount of money they both have is so large, they don’t worry about how much something costs when it comes to getting something done.  This creates the effect of all their resources essentially available to them at will.  All their necessities too are in effect available to them at no cost.  Indeed, just the interest earnings on their wealth is probably more than most people make in a lifetime.  Affording food, housing, healthcare, clothing, and education is more than easy for these guys.  Add to their interest earnings profit from from their companies and, for all intents and purposes, the amount of money these guys have will likely grow right up until they die.

That means money is no longer real for them as an impediment or restriction to making something happen.

What are Musk and Bhargava doing now that they don’t have to worry about their necessities or affording resources they need to pursue their dreams?  Are they sitting around all day watching video games?  Are they idly surfing the internet or golfing or playing tennis?  No.  They are pursuing things that light their fires.  They are following their passions, which have very large effects on human society.

Musk already has revolutionized the way people pay for things. He is well on the way to revolutionizing the automobile industry, the space industry and the energy industry.  Bhargava is creating innovations for the poor that may revolutionize the way poor people might live and save California at the same time.  His team’s innovations may revolutionize how humanity gets its water and make obsolete fossil fuel dependency.

Now, imagine if everyone were as wealthy as Musk and Bhargava.  I don’t mean imagine if everyone had billions of dollars.  I mean, imagine if money were no longer in the way of getting things done including obtaining what you need to thrive.  What if everything could be done without regard for how much it costs or how much you would need to pay someone.  How would the world look if everyone had the chance to contribute to the world the way Musk and Bhargava are, not by doing what these guys are doing, but by pursuing their own individual passions?

This is the promise Copiosis offers.  What would you do if you had all the resources you need?  In a world where everything was possible, how would you shape your reality?