It’s a common misunderstanding that Net Benefit Reward (NBR) and “money” are synonymous making “Copiosis just another monetary system”. Critics of our system claim that because it’s just another monetary system, it is no better than capitalism, or any other system that enforces scarcity though a medium of exchange. Let’s examine why none of these claims is right.
NBR is not money.
There is no correlation between money and NBR. When was the last time you received $700 dollars for attending a meeting? Yet that’s exactly what happened in February for each participant who attended our last Copiosis Transition Plan Demonstration Project in Kenton. What was the basis that triggered that amount? What was the “value” these people produced by just attending a meeting? These questions open an inquiry into differences between NBR and money.
What is the value of one dollar, One Yen, or One Renminbi? Usually the way we measure value is by how much the money can buy. But in Copiosis, NBR doesn’t “buy” you anything, as you get most things at no cost at all. There are no prices, so it’s difficult to judge how much your NBR is “worth.” Words such as “worth” “value” “Buy” and “sell” seem like everyday parts of our language. Yet they are specific to monetary economies only. It is not a language that translates into Copiosis because there are no concepts such as these in Copiosis.
Participating in our demonstration projects is the best way to instantly experience what I’m describing. Once people understand the project and how it works, the begin bumping up against limitations the Language of Capitalism has in describing what is happening in Copiosis. This clarifying experience is a major benefit of our projects. The experiences make Copiosis come to life. They also contrast a Copiosis reality with daily reality in Capitalism. They are part of the psycho-social shifts that happen in our projects. These shifts make clear how capitalism has conditioned our thinking. Once it’s clear, we can begin shifting our conditioning. Shifting our conditioning is the first thing that must happen before we can move to a new and better system. There are other elements in Copiosis that differentiate it from a monetary system. Let’s take a look at those.
The NBR Gateway
NBR Gateways are often mistaken as “prices”. Yet they function in no way like a price. For one, prices help two-way transactions between a buyer and a seller. There are no buyers and sellers in Copiosis, nor are there two-way transactions. Three-way transactions are the norm instead. There is a producer, a consumer and the “rewarding entity” (society) which rewards the producer for the net benefit her product produces for people and the planet. The reward comes in the form of NBR.
Capitalism’s prices do more than help two-way transactions of course. They also show how much a seller is going to make (minus expenses) from the sale transaction. A common error people make in comparing NBR with money generally, and Gateways with prices functionally, is they believe the Gateway amount is the amount they’re going to receive when a consumer consumes their goods and services.
The Gateway has no effect on how much NBR a producer receives when a consumer consumes a good or service. Our algorithm calculates producers’ rewards, based on how much net benefit that producer’s good or service creates. How much a producer benefits people and the planet defines how much NBR he gets. The gateway has nothing to do with that calculation.
Price also determines how much money a consumer must give to the producer to get the thing the consumer wants. This is important to realize: the money the consumer gives up goes directly into the pocket of the producer (minus expenses). So one could say, from a cash outlay standpoint, that the producer benefits over the consumer in capitalism, every time a sale happens.
In Copiosis, the Gateway determines how much NBR a consumer must have and give up to get a luxury product or service, but that amount of NBR does not go to the producer. It is simply deducted from the consumer’s NBR account and that amount goes into thin air – right back where it came from. In this way, NBR Gateways serve an important function in Copiosis: For those who want to consume and enjoy luxuries, they must accumulate NBR enough to satisfy Gateways assigned to the luxuries they want. To do that, they must benefit other people and or the planet.
So Gateways motivate morally positive behavior. Prices motivate morally positive behavior too. Sometimes. Often though they motivate immoral behavior. That’s why we have crime: everything you might want in the world, including love and belonging, food, healthcare, shelter (think about it) has a price. In many ways, it’s easier to get what we need through crime. That’s why there’s so much of it.
Gateways only apply to luxuries. Every other good or service is provided at no cost. Sometimes (depending on the producer) even luxuries are given at no cost. It’s totally up to the producer because there is no cost in Copiosis. A “cost” to a producer is also a “price.” There is no cost in Copiosis, as is there is no price.
Monetary Systems broadly defined
A monetary system is the set of institutions by which a government provides money in a country’s economy. Modern monetary systems usually consist of mints, central banks and commercial banks.
A commodity money system is a monetary system in which a commodity such as gold is made the unit of value and physically used as money. The money retains its value because of its physical properties. In some cases, a government may stamp a metal coin with a face, value or mark that indicates its weight or asserts its purity, but the value remains the same even if the coin is melted down.
…commodity-backed money” , also known as “representative money”. Many currencies have consisted of bank-issued notes which have no inherent physical value, but which may be exchanged for a precious metal, such as gold. (This is known as the gold standard.) The silver standard was widespread after the fall of the Byzantine Empire, and lasted until 1935, when it was abandoned by China and Hong Kong.
The alternative to a commodity money system is fiat money which is defined by a central bank and government law as legal tender even if it has no intrinsic value. Typically fiat money is paper currency or base metal coinage, but it can also exist as data such as bank balances and records of credit or debit card purchases. In the modern economy most money is held as deposits in banks, and the fraction that exists as currency (notes and coins) is relatively small. Money is mostly created, contrary to what is written in most textbooks, by banks when they loan to customers. Put simply, banks lending currency to customers creates more deposits and deficit spending.
In Copiosis there are no central banks, nor are there laws declaring anything as legal tender. NBR is never expressed as a physical thing. There is no paper or coined NBR. It does exist as data (bits and bytes), but again, that is not by any kind of government decree. Nor is the value of NBR guaranteed by a government or some other entity. NBR isn’t held in reserve somewhere, which the balance being traded in the market. There are no loans in Copiosis so NBR is not created like money either.
These points about monetary systems alone should show anyone that Copiosis is not a monetary system, nor does it rely on elements of one. Instead, it is a system of three-way gift transactions where the givers receive rewards for the net benefit their gifts create and the receivers benefit by the benefit created when the receiver consumes that which is gifted. After all that happens, the third party (society) rewards the gift-giver for his act.
Is it dishonest?
Some really negative people say I’m being “dishonest” by saying there is no money in Copiosis. Not only is that a strong accusation, it’s completely inaccurate. As I described above “money” facilitates two-way exchanges. Buyers give sellers their money. This transaction allows two people to satisfy dissimilar desires via a common standard of value. Often those desires are immoral. A system of banks and government controls the whole process.
Finally, all forms of money ever in existence historically and prehistorically has shared the following properties: transferability, measure of value, store of value, amorality, uncontrollability and the classic two-way (buyer-seller) transaction process. NBR shares none of these properties. It cannot be transferred from one person to another. It does not function as a common standard allowing for trade because there is no trade in Copiosis. Two-way transactions are not the norm in the system and NBR is a form of moral reward because it is only rewarded for acts which produce net benefit.