May 8, 2014

Oil-to-cash, Universal Basic Income and Citizen Ownership Democracy

While more and more economists are calling for more taxation of super-rich wealth, few are calling for the return of confiscated wealth from the poor.
"Oil-to-Cash is a proposal for governments facing a resource windfall to consider transferring some or all of the new income directly to citizens in a universal, transparent, and regular dividend. Having put this money in the hands of its citizens, the state would treat it like normal income and tax it accordingly—forcing the state to collect taxes, fostering citizen oversight, and building accountability in the management of resource revenues and the delivery of public services." (From
The best example of this is, of course, the Alaska Permanent Fund and dividend. Oil-to-cash is a proposal by the Center for Global Development pleading with governments to distribute resource wealth directly to citizens in the form of regular dividends.

A citizen ownership democracy makes a stronger assertion. Citizens own the country and therefore they own the resource wealth. A citizen dividend is the citizen's right from ownership of his country. Denial of citizen dividend is a blatant confiscation of citizen wealth.

According to the Center for Global Development,
"When we share the Oil-to-Cash idea with people who are hearing about it for the very first time, the typical response is almost always viscerally negative."

"But what’s been remarkable is how often we run up against a very similar set of objections. Here are the Top Ten Reasons Oil-to-Cash Won’t Work:
We need infrastructure
We need social services
We need subsidies for food and fuel
We should be like Norway and save it
We don’t want inflation
Cash will only encourage laziness
Cash will fuel consumption rather than investment
Dividends won’t help our poor governance
We have no national identification and few people have bank accounts
No politician will ever give up control of oil money."
For people who are familiar with the arguments for and against a universal basic income, the above arguments are very very familiar. CGDEV offers their answers here: Oil-to-Cash Won't Work Here! Ten Common Objections (pdf).

Their arguments make a lot of sense.

Citizens in every country should read this.  People (Scots) in every potential country should read this.

Learn more about your ownership of your country.

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