Saturday, February 23, 2013

In It for the Poor

These posts have focused more on the rich than the poor.  The reason is that the rich lead the way:  they have the resources to do so.  We need the rich so that they can lead the way on multiple exclusive currencies.  We have already listed some of the advantages for the rich in the In It for the Rich post.

However, we also need the poor to participate.  Our criticisms of the rich are all well and good, but so far there has been little said about the poor.  The poor will also ask what is in it for them.

Similar to the case of the rich, the solution will allow the poor to remain poor and socially justified.  As it is, the rich use "scarlet letter" methods in the attempt to make the poor poorer.  Not only do the rich label the poor as whiny and lazy, they seem to believe that the poor are really not even worth the money they are paid.  See our No Sauce for the Gander post and the quotes from Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart.

The United States is unusual partly because the population does not realize how poor it really is.  No matter what your income, you are poor if you cannot protect yourself against financial attacks. does not believe that there was a giant conspiracy among the rich to bring on the Great Recession.  We believe instead that the crisis was brought on in the usual course of business by the rich defending themselves against the results of their own mistakes and excesses.

If the strong do not provide the means to stabilize the economy, then the weak are forced to pay.  The defenseless poor have ended up paying almost all the costs of the crisis simply because it is easier and cheaper to take their money and property away from them.  In this case, most of us in the U.S. had something important taken from us in the crisis -- a job or a house, for example. sees this as proof that most of us are really quite poor.  Our wealth is really mostly smoke and mirrors and can be easily taken from us.  We imagine ourselves wealthy because we only compare ourselves to those who are even poorer.

It works like this.  In a financial crisis, lay off a million people, wait a while, then foreclose on their houses.  Convince the government that you are too big to fail and make it borrow on the backs of the poor to keep you in business.  When times improve, sell the poor back their houses at high prices.  The rich get richer.

Then wait a decade or two, and repeat.  This is the exploitation cycle.  It should be easy to see its relationship to the business cycle.

We believe that the exploitation cycles must be stopped.  The way to do that is to provide a measure of economic protection to the poor.  Everyone should have the basics:  food, clothing, and shelter.  The way to do that is have the government buy these in bulk and drive hard bargains.  Anyone who wants can join this plan voluntarily.  There will also be ways to exit the plan for those who prove themselves competitive enough to deal with the rich directly.

There will be no unemployment, no foreclosures, and no bankruptcies for those in this basic plan.  However, those who prove themselves competitive by profiting too much will either have to return their excess to the government or exit the plan.  Their choice.

Those who join this plan will also be given work through government-run agencies and contract out to private businesses.  One way to think of the agencies is as unions.  As well as matching workers to jobs and handling other personnel issues, the agencies will assure adequate working conditions.

The government will charge the businesses for labor and the businesses will charge the government to supply food, clothing, and shelter.  This is where's idea of multiple exclusive currencies comes into play.  External businesses will be billed and paid in an external currency.  Internal businesses will be billed and paid in an internal currency.  The government will set policies for all currencies.  The purpose of these policies is to assure that the agencies of the government can operate at a profit in all markets as needed.  This means that the government itself can never be overwhelmed by its own debt.

The rich might complain about coddling the poor, as if beating the poor with economic sticks is helpful.  Their arguments will not hold when one considers that they offer economic security to their own even if it is not earned by work -- their relatives and close friends.  That is economic tribalism, nothing more.  Their notion of what one must do to deserve economic security is self-serving and hypocritical.  To the extent that we, the poor, buy into these notions, we are not intelligent enough to defend ourselves against the rich. intends to be intelligent enough, and at the same time, help defend those who cannot defend themselves.

We at want to rid the world of the idea that basic economic insecurity is the best whip to use to drive laborers to work.  The rich who support this idea cannot justify it except by creating class distinctions and economic tribalism -- at the same time that they decry class warfare by those who resist the whip.

Instead we need to create a world where the economically defenseless still have the security of food, clothing, and shelter.  A world where they cannot be bankrupted or foreclosed or fired without recourse. sees the common currency as the chain that works with the whip.  Without the chains to hold us down, the whip is almost useless.  Get rid of the chains and we can deal with the whips.

Socialism for the socialists and capitalism for the capitalists.

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