Member-ownership Organizations

Are you a member or are you a real owner?

4) Member-ownership insurance company.

This is from Tan Kin Lian's blog. It is an old post, but the money should still be there.

"There is a debate in the Straits Times Forum about the existence of "orphaned money" in the participating fund of a life insurance company.

In my letter, I gave an example of a life insurance fund with assets of $15 billion and liabilities of $13 million (calculated from the individual liabilities of all individual policies), leaving "orphaned money" of $2 billion.

The reply of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Life Insurance Association and Singapore Actuarial Society, is that under the law, all money in the participating fund belongs to the participating policyholders, hence the question of "orphaned money" does not arise."

Now, how can the policyholders get a hold of their rightful participating fund? Like citizen ownership dividends, these have been confiscated by some middlemen.

3) The end of digital democracy? Facebook wants to take away your right to vote -

"Unless Facebook users fight back, the days of the social network's experiment with democracy may soon come to an end. The company on Wednesday proposed to take away its users' right to vote on major issues concerning the governance of its 1 billion-member online network."

Facebook citizens, i.e., users, should  fight not only for a voting democracy. They should fight for a digital citizen-ownership democracy. They should fight for a share of the firm's revenue.

If they cannot get this, they can form a digital citizen-ownership democracy somewhere else. Google+ ?

"You can always vote with your feet."

2) Free Speech Right to Parody a Public Figure. Member-ownership Unions.

This is an interesting case about anonymity on the Internet.

Keywords: anonymity, Facebook, parody, union, leader, Public Citizen.

"This important case should further the rights of unionists to criticize or otherwise speak out about their top officers without fear of reprisal, over the Internet or anywhere else. For more information on the case, including the brief itself, see the Public Citizen website:"

This shows a citizen's political power but not the economic power that a citizen should rightfully get.

Even for a labor union, we can ask for a member-ownership union where the income of a union is shared equally among all members, and not stashed away in some opaque accounts. Some unions are getting so super-rich, members should ask what is the huge amount of money for. Do union leaders still work for the workers in the union, or are they too busy managing the huge funds?

1) Online citizen-ownership. Facebook? Google+?

Now that Facebook is going to make a lot of money from its IPO, it is time for "citizens" of Facebook to demand their ownership dividend. If not for this large group of willing citizens, Facebook is nothing. If the citizens are not rewarded by Facebook, they can and should jump to another "country" that practices citizen-ownership. Google+, you want to try citizen-ownership?

In real life, it is difficult to jump from one country to another, or many will be moving to Alaska for their rewards. For an online social site, it is easy to switch from one to another.


  1. Greetings,
    I think this idea is provocative, if futile. Firstly, I question the use of "ownership" when it seems more appropriate to refer to a commons' membership. Not commons as public access, but the traditional definition of commons as a regulated (by its members) resource.

    In anycase I am a supporter of a guaranteed income and most recently wrote this text on Labor Day ->

  2. I don't think this will come true any time soon. But once people accept the idea of a basic income guarantee from their country, then it is a small step to apply the same idea to private organizations. I know of a labor union that makes so many money that it can pay members a lot but of course they don't do that.

  3. More people are asking for Facebook users to get paid.