Aug 2, 2013

A citizen-ownership democracy manifesto

Citizen-ownership Democracy
(Last  updated: May 2014)

The aim: To let every citizen have a substantial citizen dividend.
Why? This is justice. Citizens own the country. They own the citizen dividend.

Communism tries to correct the imbalance between the poor and the rich through the idea of common ownership. The fault is the implementation of a centralized common ownership. All the wealth gets centralized into a few people in the government and wealth distribution becomes a problem. China and Russia have given up on this idea of a common centralized ownership.

Democracy is attractive as every citizen has a vote to pick the government. However, beyond this vote, democracy has nothing tangible to offer to its citizens. Wealth and power are concentrated among the rich.

In a new democracy, the citizen-ownership democracy, the common ownership of property can be sold to individuals or organizations, as currently practiced in democratic countries. For example, land pieces are sold by governments.

The most important difference is that the proceeds from selling of common properties is distributed directly to all citizens equally. In current democracies, such proceeds are kept, confiscated, in the government treasury. Common properties include land, oil, minerals, water, air space, road space, electromagnetic wave bands, nature parks, fishery license, sovereign wealth fund, and anything else in the country that is not already owned by private individuals or organizations.

In current democracies, citizens get zero wealth from being a citizen. In a citizen-ownership democracy, citizens equally share the wealth realized when common properties are sold or leased. Each citizen in a citizen-ownership democracy has a right to vote and a right to an equal share of the country's wealth.

The amount of citizen dividend per citizen depends on the country's common wealth. The amount is expected to be very substantial in many countries. For example, in Alaska, the amount can be easily a few thousand dollars per resident. In Singapore, the amount is estimated at about $9000 per citizen. The amount over a person's lifetime is easily hundreds of thousand of dollars, or even a million dollars.

How? This can be achieved through peaceful voting processes.

The transition from a democracy to a citizen-ownership democracy needs no revolution. It needs only a political party to champion this idea, win the citizens over and institutionalize this idea. Besides relying on a political party, citizens can also form single-issue voters who will vote out any politician who does not support a citizen dividend.

In some countries such as Switzerland, citizens can initiate and vote for a new democracy. They do not have to wait for any political party.

Careful institutionalization of citizen ownership and citizen dividend is essential. Past examples, e.g., the Alaska Permanent Fund and Alberta Heritage Fund and even Mongolia, have shown that  dividend funds without careful protection will be diverted by politicians to other "urgent" uses. A good protection is through Constitutional laws that require a high referendum to change. A normal law that can be easily changed by a simple Parliamentary majority is not much of a protection.

Note: Please see this book for more details: One Man, One Vote & One Share.

6 comments:

  1. I pray Mzanzi citizen don't agree in selling of Land, or minerals etc...

    why sell what can be a cash-cow/ investment for its owners/ citizens? Land is everything to Africans as we obviously relate to it differently Lol... I'm just saying.

    eg if it was upto me UK power? northwest Platinum profits/ (like Zim 51% indigenouzation policy) would go to both gov & local land-owners.
    Improving local infrastructure.

    Free health & education is therefore more than just an idea/ possibility.
    xolilejohn@gmail.com

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  2. I agree a country shouldn't sell off properties / land / minerals forever. A lease, e.g, 10-year, 30-year, 60-year, or 99-year, will be a good way to preserve common properties for future generations.

    Private land ownership that lasts forever is not a good way for a citizen-ownership democracy, as the pool of commonly owned properties will get smaller and smaller. This is the current state in Scotland:
    Scotland: reform of land ownership is long overdue
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/10/editorial-scotland-land-reform
    "Many ordinary Scots are becoming aware of what, for centuries, had been the nation's dirty big secret: that 432 landowners possess half of their country."

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  3. Do you mind if I repost this on my blog http://medialternatives.com ?

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  4. This doesn't add up.
    There is no way for this country to go that route.

    The people who have invested in the economy, are NOT the majority. They're not even PART of our country. they are MNC's, and have no loyalty to a state.

    As far as the mineral wealth goes, that is the property of the government and IS being used (they claim) to our benefit.

    But if you think the people who have invested in these great industries are going to turn it over to the average man, you have gone insane.

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  5. This citizen ownership democracy does not need any nationalizing of private industries. Please see this overview.
    http://cod-democracy.blogspot.sg/2013/09/a-picture-of-citizen-ownership-democracy.html

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