Dear everyone interested in a no money economy and full employment,
Here is my proposal of ten pages. I hope you find its possibilities a cause for action to change our economic system. One way we can start to do this is spread the word. You are free to download my proposal and pass it on. Thank you for your participation. Sincerely, Attila Sala[url][/url][email][/email]A proposal for a no-money economy
A no-money economy would be possible with a simple work requirement
verifiable at the local level. Consumption would be limited by a consumption
card that kept track of the hour value of every purchase and gave priority to
people for a particular purchase whose previous three year average hour consumption
was lowest. Consumption would also be limited by a recycling requirement
that eventually would allow nothing to be thrown away except food waste and
packaging which would have to be fully compostable. People would be free to
fulfill their work requirement by volunteering, self employing or being sopped up
by a myriad of business employers, non-profits and public service sector jobs
that would be available because organizations would be free from operating
according to the profit motive. Full employment would be achievable and the
power and authority structure of businesses would be induced to listen to the
real needs of people more rather than the follow the profit motive. Efficiency
would be maintained by keeping track of the hour cost of goods and services
and peoples cost-conscious use of their consumption card.
Imagine and take this as really possible; A world in which money and with it capitalism, socialism and communism are defunct or have fallen by the wayside. How would this be possible? How would we live? The idea is as old as the hills with a modern twist. In exchange for working and sanctifying our lives with an appreciation of what we receive through providence, we would house, clothe, feed, transport, educate, administrate, heal and entertain each other. In short, we would do everything we are doing now minus a lot of tasks that are redundant or only exist because of money and the way it is used as a tool of oppression. How it would work is in exchange for a work or volunteer requirement of 28 hours a week, (the current average workweek of all people in the work force is 27 hours.), people would be able to access products and services for free subject to an upper limit. Without money as an obstacle people would be able to be hired, self employ, or volunteer and work that is not currently recognized would be not simply because someone who has money says it should have value. The problem goes further than the unequal distribution of money to the huge colossal waste that money itself has created in our society.
A better way to keep track of the value of an item is by the time that went into every aspect of making the object or providing a service. Where it was impossible to calculate the time put in one could convert at the rate of ninety-four dollars to the hour. This is known as Hour Cost accounting. To be sure, Hour Cost accounting goods and services would retain eight million jobs in the finance sector but the vast majority- thirty million people in finance, accounting, insurance, banking, tax preparation and related fields would need to be compensated fairly for being in a job that was no longer needed through no fault of their own. A fair proposal might be an eight year grace period to take a long vacation, reorient and retrain to find other work or qualify for retirement with the eight years as work credit, as compensation for dropping the money emphasized profession they find themselves in. Some of the new jobs that might become available that they would be able to compete for would be five million jobs as teachers' assistants if we double the number of teachers for those under eighteen. There would be eight million more jobs in farming if we convert our entire system to organic farming. This would be good for our health but also make farm work conditions more attractive and maximize assimilable calorie production per acre and nutritive quality for every type of crop. Other jobs would be in recycling, self employment, consulting and many others especially if the work week was reduced for many work slots to 35 or even 28 hours a week. The thirty million people together with the 12 million unemployed and severely underemployed represent about thirty percent of the work force and a huge windfall of redirected productivity, creativity and ingenuity. In truth I am an anti-materialist and if forty-two million people all became self-employed artists I would be happy with less of some things or higher quality more easily recyclable lasting products because there would be no more short term profit motive, with a labor shortage encouraging more quality products and efficiency.
Everyone over 18 and not of retirement age would be required to work, volunteer or self employ an average of 28 hours a week (the average work week for those currently employed is now 27 hours) or be enrolled in school or a training program, unless you were sick or disabled or really could not find 28 hours a week of employment and volunteer work. One parent, a woman or man, could take maternity leave as long as their child was not in school or make sure they had the time off as needed when their child was not in daycare and work a 'flex' job. If the child was in school, one parent would only have a work requirement of 21 hours per week as long as their youngest child was under the age of 14. Full work credit would be given to any hours devoted to home schooling, baby sitting or providing care for a sick family member or friend, looking after an elderly person, volunteering at a non-profit or doing work favors for someone like driving old people around to medical appointments etc.
Some of you may ask won't it be chaos with millions self-employing and not really doing anything? Like everyone else, artists, novelists and other self employed people would have to keep their own work records, notarize them regularly and
make them available to a local town or city council ward, three person commission, for an audit or verification if requested. The three person commission would be elected, one person each year, to a three year term. For the first three years people would get amnesty if a person was unable to show verifiable records in the initial audit by one of the commissioners. Such a person would still be required, in an audit, to provide work or work search records for six months going forward to the future, notarized and submitted to the commission on a monthly basis. Audits would include a review of only the most recent six months work history (to keep it simple). Pure refusal to do work would mean that the persons' consumption card would be suspended except for food, housing, utilities and transportation. The idea would be to work with that person to get them to become compliant. In severe instances of repeated noncompliance the consumption card would be suspended for transportation as well and non-renewal of vehicle registration. I don't want to be negative, so let's keep this on the positive side. If you were unemployed and actively looking for work you would receive full work credit as long as you could present your work search records. Discouraged workers need help and counseling and a real chance, not punishment. The plan would hopefully result in a labor shortage or very near full employment so people could employ from one job to the next wherever they were happiest and felt most useful or had the opportunity to learn new skills.
Well, someone may say; 'I like this new work environment so much that I may want to work past my retirement age.' For jobs that are onerous retirement would be offered sooner to attract people. Unions, workers and management in each profession would get together to decide how many work credits a person would receive for full time work in order to retire. In general, for a job that did not have any physical risk or severe stress or require much education, such as a cashier, one could accrue 1 work credit a year with 42 work credits needed to retire. For example, police and fire unions might establish 2 work credits a year for their work on average, with 21 years to retire with the magic number of 42 credits. Each hour could be worth so many fractions of a credit with more of a value for overtime. Laborers, waitresses and waiters, teachers and doctors might want to earn 1.35 work credits a year for full time work which might translate into thirty years of work to retire. It would be a process where risks and benefits and the time having to invest in education to prepare for the profession would all be given weight before establishing a yearly work credit value for a profession. Work could be credited on an hourly or by the week basis. For example on an hourly basis of forty-six, 28 hour, work weeks a year, with six weeks vacation and time credited for ten paid holidays, five paid sick days, and three paid personal days, would average 1,288 hours a year of work. 1/46 of a work credit for every week of work would come to approximately .00075 work credits for every hour of work performed or 'paid for". Instead of a paystub the employer would give a printout of the total work credit earned for the pay period and a year to date total as well. A disabled person would receive full work credit based on their employment before they were disabled or the equivalent one work credit a year whichever was greater.
Consumption would be tempered by an atmosphere of frugality and conservation, though no one would be comparing with the next person how much they consume even if it is not exactly commensurate with the work they performed. The main brake on consumption would be the garbage man. Nothing would be allowed to be thrown away
except food waste, some food packaging, paper towels, tissues, napkins and paper plates that were compostable. The garbage man would be a little like a policeman. Everything would be required to be recyclable in as an efficient manner as possible, a great job creator. Only in rare instances would you get a special permit to throw something away such as an old mattress that was made before mattresses were made fully recyclable. Consumption would be further reined in by stores reserving the right to limit quantities. A consumption card would keep track of big ticket items like cars, boats, bicycles by dividing the hour cost it took to make the item by ten years and prorating it by add ten percent of the total cost a year to the most recent three year consumption average for miscellaneous items. Purchasers of the boats and cars would have the option of prorating it over twenty years. People with the lowest three year Hour Cost consumption average, with the purchase of big ticket items factored in, as I have outlined above, would be first in line for items in short supply that they are trying to obtain such as a boat, fancy car or top of the line stereo system. Food would be beeped on the consumption card but measured in calories as well as Hour Cost, with no rationing except in cases of emergencies. Housing, healthcare and education would also be free and in addition, not handled or counted by any consumption card. Again, just to be clear, the items that fall under being counted on the consumption card are still free and are only measured in hours to create a waiting list in case of a shortage of an item.
Fresh fruit and vegetables in the store are not cheap and I would rather have some food go to waste at home and there be enough nutritive food for every family. The consumption card is a more moderate restraint on consumption than we currently have but I see no problem with this. The general attitude might be; 'this is too good to be true so don't screw it up by being wasteful or prolifigate.' This would solve the problem that we have under our capitalism with weak unions, of low wages and the profit motive for everything create overproduction at the same time that there is idle wokers and insufficient income to buy what we are producing. The glut in production, however, especially of food, is a product of providence, ingenuity, innovation and motivation in mans nature and is not the product of capitalism only. Under a no-money system, there is no reason to refute that because of continued innovation and productivity gains, food consumption and industrial production could increase without shortages or more pollution. Man was always motivated to have a good harvest throughout the agricultural revolution that we are still going through. Having many hands make light work, especially at harvest time, makes the most of natures' bounty. Right now the pressure to accomplish harvest with the least labor cost and the political need to keep food costs low puts the farmer, especially the organic farmer, at a disadvantage in terms of achieving the highest yield in calories and nutritive quality per acre. Modern machinery needs wider spacing and results in lower yields for many row crops, except for grains. Under a no-money organic system of farming, the organic farmer could utilize more labor, especially at harvest time, without the disincentive of low farm wages. Working conditions could improve because of less of a cost pressure and fields would be safer without the use of pesticides or herbicides. More young people would be attracted to that type of work. Farm burnout would be less and the land would be better taken care of. This is not moving us backwards and not making us all peasants again! It helps preserve our agricultural base for the future when the population is likely to be higher. Work in agriculture under better conditions is also better than no job or sitting idle for many.
Private property and free enterprise could still flourish under a no-money economy. Because profit would no longer be an incentive to share resources whether they be natural resources, land or housing, we would need an alternative system of incentives so land does not languish or houses remain vacant. Under this proposal renting out would earn .2 work credits a year towards retirement per 1,000 sq feet of living space rented. To receive your landlord based work credits all you would have to do is keep records but in an audit you would need to show legitimate reasons for the vacancy in any unit that you own. As a retiree real estate owner, you could still gain work credits and give them to your children or grandchildren. Giving land for housing would earn 2 work credits for giving enough for one family to build a home. Giving a home would earn 2 work credits for every 1,000 square feet of living space in the home. No bribery would be allowed or side deals to receive your work credits for housing. You could swap or barter your house or land but then you could not receive work credits for doing so. Simply fulfilling the work requirement would be enough to qualify oneself to receive a home to own or rent or land on which to build one.
While a free market in housing and land is probably more acceptable to the population than having need based rules for housing, it cannot be fair in all situations. Hopefully, people are asking Christ what the right thing to do is before they apply for a home or give a home to someone. If people act with their hearts and with the guidance of Christ everybody will have housing. Perhaps a compromise with people that feel all housing should be need-based would be to have the requirement that a minimum of 25 % of any newly built units be permanently designated as need-based. A donor of land
could stipulate a even higher percentage of units be need-based in a partnership agreement with the developer and builder.
Another way to entice people to offer their housing on an as needed basis would be to double the work credits you would receive when you give or rent your house or land provided ninety percent of the units are offered on a need basis. So for giving a home you would gain four work credits per 1,000 square feet of living space, .4 credits per 1000 sq. ft for renting instead of 2 and .2 respectively. Giving land to build a home based on need would give four work credits to the donator instead of two.
How would a needs-based priority list for housing work? A fair universal priority list might look something like this; First priority in terms of applicants would be the homeless, based on the number of people in the homeless family and the square footage of living space of the home for which they are applying. The next in priority would be the owners or residents that are living in over crowded conditions where they currently reside. Proof of residence would be required. If the crowded conditions were equal between two applicants one would see who had the greatest number of dependents in the household. If the applicants were still ranked equally one could compare safe playing outdoor yard space available at the current home compared to the home to which they want to move. The applicant with the greatest increase in usable yard space would be awarded the home or chosen as the renter provided they had employment in the area. Applicants that were moving to be within commuting distance of a job would be next in priority with the applicant being within a half hour commute earning more points than those further away etc. I'm sure the pros could come up with a better needs based priority list but you get the idea. Those people who were given their home under this system would only be eligible to obtain two work credits/per 1000 sq feet when they likewise gave away the home in turn and only if they did so in a needs based priority listing with a realtor because they were given the home and are expected to be generous in turn. If they chose to rent the home they would only receive .2 work credits a year per 1,000 sq ft. living space and only if they rented subject to the needs based priority placement.
Donating land for farming, conservation or natural resource extraction or commercial property would accrue a one time work credit of .2 work credits an acre. Leasing land would yield .02 work credits an acre to the owner of the land per year. Timber harvesting would earn work credits equivalent to leasing ones land for a year even if it was not formally a lease. Renting of commercial property would accrue .1 work credits per 1000 square feet. Hopefully people in this system of incentives for utilizing property will not only think what's in it for them and come up with a feeling that
they would better recompensed under capitalism, but rather what good they are doing by renting or donating the property in question. The work credits are just recompense for the time and thought and care that they put into their decisionmaking in regards to their property and is not meant to be exorbitant. The highest and best use of a property is not what makes the most money but what harmonizes with the surrounding environment and makes people happiest without the greed, avarice or babylonic insensitivity to the real spiritual needs of humans.
Under the still fairly simple system of a no-money economy, State, federal, local and inheritance taxes would be a thing of the past. Fear of homelessness would be drastically reduced as would arguments about the school budget. Car, accident, home, life, travel and medical insurance would be a thing of the past. Instead of car insurance, you would only have an adjuster certify that your damage to your vehicle was the result of an accident so that the hours would not accrue on ones' consumption card for the repair. For homeowners and renters the loss of your things by theft or fire or water damage would be certified by an adjuster as fully replaceable and crediting your consumption card with the hour value of the goods lost with a possible minus value to the consumption card for it's most recent three year average. All medical treatment
would be of course free and unrationed. The people that work in medical insurance could go back to giving healthcare to people or find other work after an eight year grace period. Disability insurance would devolve into only an adjuster who would evaluate someones' inability to work at a given profession. Instead of life insurance, as long as the employer could survive without them, at the passing away of ones' spouse, parent or sibling, one would get a minimum of four months bereavement. The loss of one spouse with children under the age of eighteen or other dependents would automatically result in the waiving of the work requirement for the surviving spouse no matter if you previously had life insurance or not.
A no-money economy would leave some problems unsolved but alot clearer. With no taxes or budget to argue about, congress could still debate how many people should be employed by our national government and how much resources they should be allowed to utilize, i.e. paper, utilities, buildings, vehicles etc. The only difference is that they would not be able to hide behind the smoke screen layer of money anymore in what they do, including electoral politics. Under my proposal, they still would have to keep a record of visits and gifts by lobbyists and the content of what was discussed made public and available to their voters. Now that's transparency ! The IRS, Social Security Administration, Medicaid and Medicare and state departments of taxation and finance at least could be eliminated.
Local governments and municipalities could have similar arguments about what essential needs to meet but in general would be able to hire plenty of people that they need as teachers, policemen, firemen and for their parks and recreation system . For Capital projects like new schools, sewage and water systems or trucks and other buildings and bridges or roadway reconstruction, each town or municipality would be put on a county wide or statewide priority list for eventual contractor commencement or delivery of the vehicles needed. Citizens of a town county or city would still vote on theses expenditures as they do now but the only difference is, because of no taxes, it would be a lot less painful to create a labor demand through requesting a healthy amount of goods and services. The economy would be going gangbusters and everyone would be
busy. One would only be limited by the construction contractors' ability to do the backlog of work. Full employment would be realized instead of following the selfish motivations of the moneyed economy. Some people might choose to keep working
as mentors even after they qualify for retirement.
How would a no-money economy affect international trade? Each country would need to set work requirements and consumption guidelines for their population based on their current productivity. Every country would have a list of what is likely to be in greatest demand with a no-money economy and make a plan, including international trade agreements, to meet that demand and or allocate the scarce item in demand such as gasoline cookstoves and all terrain vehicles in a third world African country. The third world, where the current distribution of resources is the most unequal, would experience the greatest shortages from demands unmet and would need to have an orderly, prioritized distribution of goods with an emphasis based on meeting basic needs in sanitation, housing, miscellaneous household goods, solar energy and transportation using as low tech and sustainable methods as possible that are suited to their countrys' climate. As jobs were created in those relatively undeveloped countries maintaining and manufacturing some of the construction material for houses, solar energy infrastructure
household goods and some parts for transportation, not to mention giving of some vital production from a fully active economy in the first world, shortages and waiting lists would gradually decrease. The poor in slums the world over have waited far too long for the capitalistic free market to lift them out of their poverty and squalid conditions they are living in. Contrary to what conservatives have said, poverty in America is not the result of government interference in the private sector but government helping the banks and big business make the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. Under a no-money economic system, full employment in our country and the other more developed countries could apply some of their labor towards more international partnerships that would have as it's goal the alleviation of poverty everywhere, especially in the third world. All it would take is to transfer the spiritual release from thinking of a world without money into political will. A U.S. citizen, giving skilled labor and expertise to another country and living there, would by special agreement, still receive their work
credits for retirement according to the U.S. system and receive everything they needed in that host country for free. The U.S. would continue to give aid in real terms through food shipments, medicine and labor donations for civil engineering expertise and construction at the same levels or greater than we are today with the expectation that we would continue to receive goods from other countries at initially the same levels that we are today. We would then begin to make adjustments for conservation and frugality and paying attention and being sensitive to what other countries need, which may not be the same as what we need, especially because of the rainy season in the tropics. In America, we could offer a bonus of .1 work credits a year to anyone employed primarily or substantially to serve an export market to attract people to export oriented occupations to make sure in a labor short economy that we are still pulling our weight in terms of serving other countries at least as well as they serve us. Under this proposed moneyless system, no country would seek a balance of trade in terms of economic value with any other country but rather each nation would give what it could and by renewed bilateral and multilateral agreements, develop its export capacity accordingly.
What about efficiency in business? Is not the requirement that a business make a profit responsible for maintaining efficiency and the huge productivity gains of the modern era? My answer is that the profit motive is one way to stay efficient but cannot meet the total needs of society especially when it comes to basic research and development, education, healthcare, conservation and the agricultural sector. There are also plenty of activities of non-profits for which a for-profit status is inappropriate and even offensive in that it goes against the basic motivation, which is altruistic. Under my proposed system for profit business would be under Hour Cost accounting. Hour Cost accounting would keep track of all the time that goes into making a product. Where it is impossible to estimate because of old records it would be convertible from money estimates at the rate of one hour equaling ninety four dollars. Every item in the store would have an Hour Cost on the label which is the maximum they could legally add to ones consumption record when obtaining the item. If this value was too variable for consistent pricing one could 'price' the item with an HV or Hour Value that was on average lower or equal to the HC or Hour Cost. The Hour Value is what would be added to the consumers consumption card with the 'sellor' crediting his books for the full Hour Cost of the product even if he or she 'sold' it at a lower Hour Value or even gave it away. This would be defined as Successful Distribution (SD). The Hour Cost for buildings and equipment would be depreciable and amortized into the Hour Cost for their good or service over the real life of the building or equipment since there would be no taxes and therefore no incentive for accelerated depreciation allowances. Since Labor is not actually being paid and capital is raised by business agreement, business would not have to be in the black. Business would just have to break even over a ten year average of Hour Costs(HC) being balanced by Successful Distribution (SD) )(with signed receipts to prove it) plus the Hour Cost value of inventory on hand (HCI). Items thrown away in inventory or returned as defective would not count towards the Successfully Distributed (SD) total.
To recap and remind you of the benefits of this no-money proposal;
*If the agricultural and industrial revolutions are such a success, which they are in terms of production of things to eat and use, why are we rushing around so much and seeming like we do not have enough time in the day while others are idle or unemployed? Contrary to propaganda, Capitalism fails to fully include large segments of the population and laissez-faire or not, relies on greed, which is inherently inefficient. Also, since the city of Ur in ancient Babylon, money has been an aspect of oppression and a lack of trust. The honesty of ones' word that they work, written or spoken and verifiable at the local level, makes money unnecessary and includes everyone in an equitable way.
-removes the financial disincentive to take care of the land better and maximize caloric production per acre in organic food.
-removes the financial disincentive to make products fully recyclable and in harmony with the land, a job creator.
-creates a potentially huge demand for labor skilled and unskilled and values volunteer work equally.
-improves our motivation for why we work-to help people and ourselves, not just to make money.
-no financial or money reason not to treat people with humanity and respect all the time.
-people would be more secure in their home ownership. Foreclosures would be a thing of the past.
-leaves no obstacle for towns and municipalities, especially poor ones, to hire the people they agree they need without worrying about taxes, which would not exist.
-health insurance and college tuition would be things of the past, now free like everything else.
People would not have their feelings ripped around by money anymore or the economic oppression that goes along with it. The arguments of today would dissolve into the ongoing questions of are we meeting peoples' real needs by the way we are using our time and our resources? Can we prepare for salvation by leaving no one unclothed, hungry or homeless as Christ asked us to help his people and that as we did unto the least of them we did unto him? In spite of what anyone may think the bible says in support of money, I know that Christ approves of no-money because he told me so. Also the Native Americans wampum sea shell belts were not money but a valued commemorative belt that was a record of feast days and used as historical and ceremonial calendar. It was the English who tried to sell or trade with them inferior factory beads to make wampum that tried to make them be treated as'money'. This is according to the Museum of Natural History in New York. I ask you to join me in organizing for this relatively simple, sweeping proposal, a massive write in and phone call to congress when the time is right and we have garnered enough support, saying yes, I support the proposal for a no-money earth and a Constitutional amendment banning the use of money. Please share this document with friends and people who may support no-money.
If you have further questions, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org You can e-mail me your e-mail to prepare for a phone call and letter writing campaign to congress and share this document with friends and colleagues. Thank you,
Attila J.A. Sala