Sep 3, 2012

Citizen-ownership income is better than Basic Income

Citizen-ownership income is better than Basic Income / Basic Capital.

First, the similarity: both Basic Income and citizen-ownership income are proposals that give each citizen / resident an annual income with no condition on the person's wealth, employment or other characteristics. Those who propose a one-time payment call it Basic Capital, which has the same issues as Basic Income.

Basic Income and citizen-ownership income differ on a number of very important and fundamental points.

1. Foundation for the income

Basic Income is mainly based on ethical / moral reasoning. The idea that the rich should part with their monies to give to everybody (including the poor) is not appealing to the rich. It is not even appealing to the middle income group.

Citizen-ownership income is based on ownership rights. Citizens are owners of their country, and they rightfully deserve the wealth that comes from the ownership rights.

2. Basic Income underestimates the numbers

Because of the moral foundation, it is difficult to estimate how much each citizen should get. Some suggest poverty level income. Some suggest about $80,000 for a one-time payment.

As we have seen from the examples of Alaska, Kuwait and Norway, the amount for citizen-ownership income can be huge. As it is based on citizen ownership of the country, it is not based on poverty level. The amount is easily in the 100s of thousands, and in the Kuwait example, the value exceeds $1 million per citizen over a lifetime.

3. Righting a wrong versus a redistribution of wealth

Basic Income is perceived as a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor.

Citizen-ownership income is a step in righting a wrong that is found in current democracies. Governments in current democracies have (mis)appropriated income from common wealth into their treasuries. That is, they have imposed a 100% tax on the citizen-ownership income that citizens should be getting rightfully.

4. Real life Example

Basic Income has no real life example, except for small villages.

Citizen-ownership income has a real life example in Alaska, in the Alaska Permanent Fund. Alaska is not a full citizen-ownership democracy yet, but it is giving citizens/residents part of their ownership income from its oil production. A citizen-ownership democracy is not an unreachable utopia. It is already here.

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