It appears that the use of human labor is being made extinct by development of robots and analytical control machinery of various types. This can be wonderful as all humans can then more easily develop and use their creative skills.
Perhaps the country can establish a panel of skilled technicians, including engineers and programmers, as well as economists. This panel could recommend development of one or more robots, advanced technology, medicine, etc. as the need was detected. Dangerous tasks should be a priority.
A national enterprise, comparable to the WPA, NASA or CDC would be set up by statute. The objective would be to find and hire those with the skill and drive to develop automated, robotic, nano-robots, genomic medicine and other now esoteric medicines, machines and skills. Necessary supplies, space, and all other facilities the panel might find necessary, would initially be funded from governmental funds with the presumption that the enterprise would become self-funding within a decade and could contribute to the National Wealth Trust.
Ownership of patents and licensing rights of all products, concepts, and medicines and any other resulting intellectual property resulting from such employment would be owned by the national enterprise and all proceeds exceeding those needed to keep that enterprise viable shall be placed in the National Wealth Trust established first for deposit of all proceeds from both the annual wealth tax and from the Estate Tax.
If the government had controlled the internet, which it had helped to develop, through licensing and like means instead of simply allowing access, the income that would have accrued for the use of the needs of your society could have been very large, (consider what a fractional cent on each transaction by Amazon, etc. would accumulate to!)
As robots and other special productive machinery, are developed and licensed, displaced workers would be entitled to full compensation, or in the earlier stages, the percentage computed as being expendable from the National Wealth Trust Fund or Equal Opportunity Trust Fund without destroying the ability of such Trust Funds to grow by compounding quickly to a sum equal to fifteen percent of the gross domestic product computed before growth of that fund.
The Trusts would make such payments from both the robotic licensing fees and from the wealth taxes suggested above. Loss of jobs would no longer be a nearly fatal occurrence, destructive to the discharged person and society as well. Annual supplements to incomes would be adequate for survival. Wealth would be accumulated for all, not just the top few. The effect of such supplemental incomes on crime in your nation will be an ancillary benefit which is hard to evaluate.
Investment in Education:
To insure the availability of knowledgeable people to meet the demands for technicians, engineers, programmers, medical researchers and others to bring the country into an age where no human need do mindless, repetitive or dangerous tasks, you need look only to the post-world war II American GI Bill. The engineers and technicians from that bill won your cold war after the USA almost lost control of space to the USSR which was way ahead with Sputnik.
Education and health are among inherent rights of humans being necessary to the successful pursuit of happiness, both for the individual and the society. Investment in the knowledge and health of your citizens is merely common sense and U.S.A. President Roosevelt said August 31,1910 “Let me add that the health and vitality of our people are at least as well worth conserving as their forests, waters, lands, and minerals, and in this great work the national government must bear a most important part.”
People are the basic source of all wealth. All citizens should be educated to their full capacities and have the best of health care for life. People start life with a tremendous desire to learn, to do, to help. That desire must be nurtured by society in its own best interest. The youth are our future, the ones able to look at things, not as they are but as they might be if improved.
A necessary part of the wealth produced by the nation must be allocated towards full payment for all education, up to the ability of the individual involved, and for all health costs necessary to insure health of all citizens. Education costs will include but not be limited to those for room, board, tuition, books, special instruments if any, and all other expenses of education. Perhaps all college students could be invited to act as mentors at local high schools, providing not merely tutoring in math, language and the like, but also in civics, the right and necessity of citizens to keep rule over the country and the opportunities in industries, including governmental, to contribute to their society by improving medicine, communication, automation, the arts, and so many other interesting and beneficial fields.
The representatives of the people and all officials and employees of any governmental enterprise, shall consider the status of the “health and vitality” of the people as the primary element in achieving goes essential to the nation and more important than the status of profits for industries in the nation.
The “defense” budget must not be excessive compared to that of all the other nations of like size in this world. USA president Eisenhower stated that each unnecessary weapon was a theft from some poor family. We must consider the cost in human welfare of each dollar funded for “defense”.
The internet contains many historical events that are troubling: “Occupy Wall Street” and the “Tea Party” movements, the revolt in Egypt as set out in Revolution 2.0 and generally called the “Arab Spring” as well as the tremendous responses to both Bernie Saunders and Donald Trump blue-color supporters all show extreme dissatisfaction with the policies that have led to loss of middle-income status for blue-color and other workers.
Too many people in such groups apparently agree that the top ten percent have everything rigged in their favor. Their opinion seems validated by the U.S.A. bail-outs of the banks instead of bail outs of those stuck with excessive mortgages by bad banking practices, by outsourcing, and other practices that favor the persons having wealth in the top ten percentile. This has led to a sense of futility among working and middle class people, a majority of USA citizens, with has resulted in turmoil such as sit-ins and the Sanders “Revolution” as well as the Trump blue collar revolt.
The internet has books which indicate that revolution in Haiti as well as the more recent “April Springs” revolutions in the mid-east arose out of the same sense among the majority, that they were excluded from control of their own government. The idea that the government was not that of the people but that of those within the small circle of the ruling elite was key to the demonstrations and revolts. Unfortunately, the Egyptian people seem to still have little say, government having been usurped by the military, and Haiti again is ruled by the elite. Perhaps other nations can influence more democratic republican change among all despotic states via sanctions designed to harm the elite more than the citizens, e.g. freezes on assets of the ruling oligarchs.
Selective Distributions from the National Wealth Trust
End of Poverty?
It is suggested that the proceeds of the recommended Tax on Wealth, Equal Opportunity Tax and of the licensing fees on robots and other nationally developed innovations all be earmarked for management in a “National Wealth Trust”.
Such trust would be managed by economists and financial experts selected by the Secretary of the Treasury, or President if desired, and disbursements could be delayed while the assets compounded in value until it was at least equal to (e.g.) ten percent of the net national wealth as of the end of a the most recently reported year. Thereafter, up to one half (e.g.) of its projected income, on a conservative basis, could be disbursed in a progressive manner to citizens, first those in the very lowest income brackets and then broadened periodically, to others receiving slightly more.
Given the compounding effect due to the income from: Licensing nationally funded medicines, robots etc.; the 1% (2%?) wealth tax and the increase in value, plus dividends and interests from the tax on estates, truly an “Equal Opportunity Tax” with 30 billion or more anticipated over the next twenty years, there could be nearly 80 billion in the fund at the end of that time. Poverty should then be something of the barbaric past.
The administrators of the trust fund must be people of integrity, and wisdom as well as knowledgeable about the operation of such businesses and business entities as are held in the fund as a result of taking estate taxes, at least partially, in portions of the estate assets, as versus just cash. (e.g) If the tax came to 25% of the net value of all estate assets, 25% of all assets exclusive of personal jewelry and vehicles as well as assets deemed of great emotional value, would be taken as payment of the estate tax.
Necessary legal experts would also be employed by the Trust which would be earmarked for ending the need for labor by people to the extent advanced machinery can displace them and for establishment and payment, as the fund compounds, of a basic allowance for all citizens who do not have a million dollars with that allowance being adjusted for inflation, as well as for changes in the total fund. The representatives of the people must keep an eye on this fund to assure maximum benefit to society. Only people acknowledged as qualified by their peers would be in control of the trust fund or as adviser to them.
The budget for the military must not be too great given the needs of the people and the budgets of other nations. Perhaps you can find that some of this can better go to your citizens. Another area to review is military spending disguised as foreign aid, i.e., which aid is now “given” subject to the spending of a large portion of the “aid” with a weapons manufacturer controlled by an entity in the nation “giving” the aid.
Income disparity will also be diminished but the recommendations will, of course, still allow your truly innovative people to receive more than others who do not innovate. The benefits to a society from pursuit of personal wealth or status that a capitalist system because of its recognition of the “me first” instinct in every living organism have been proven, as have universal education and health in some European nations. It is to avoid the harm to society that this inborn selfishness can cause that societal regulations are essential.
I, with, I believe, most reasonable people, have concluded that unregulated capitalism can lead to harm, such as in, to name a few instances in the USA: Love Canal, Flint Water, California gas leak at Porter Ranch, and the 2011 market crash and ensuing loss of homes by citizens, all were caused by inadequate regulation of businesses too interested in only their own profits.
The concept of profits being above any consideration of the welfare of society can destroy people and even the ability of people to survive on this world. So it is good that the many governments regulate banking, investment, and pollution and many matters relating to the well-being of the people. Criminal penalties should be imposed if the sheer mass of “errors” in submissions of data subjected to regulation, leads investigators to find probable cause to charge “fraud”, and extreme civil damages for “willful negligence”. The banks and vendors of securities must be completely open to regulatory bodies and precluded from causing distress to the entire world in their chase for profits.
Regulatory bodies, adequately funded to perform their duties, must be created or modified, with their heads and top tier of management required like political representatives to be totally transparent to the public, via blogs or otherwise to prevent or minimize pollution of the air, water, or land by any industry as well as to prevent injury to the people by selling any product adulterated by any injurious substance, naturally dangerous to citizens, or failing to dispose, as part of the cost of the industry involved. of all waste from production of any type whether: radioactive, heavy metal, carbon dioxide or other noxious waste whatsoever. Such regulatory bodies would, of course, have to work within the limits of our present technological level: e.g. cars could not be banned because of the fact that they pollute, but only to the extent of those that do not meet standard limits on such pollution, or which do not meet our safety standards.
Philosophers and concepts relied upon by the writer:
In La Fausse Industrie (1836), Fourier argues that the violation of each person’s fundamental natural right to hunt, fish, pick fruit and let her/his cattle graze on the commons implies that “civilization” owes subsistence to everyone unable to meet her/his needs, in the form of a sixth class hotel room and three modest meals a day.
Fourier was one of the first philosophers who recognized that civilization, by recognizing and allowing exclusive use of part of the common resources owned by all humans, owes some rent to all, and that none should starve in the midst of plenty.
This acknowledgment of a fundamental natural right to use of all land and resources in the area, and of a debt of the civilized restriction of such rights, implies that a rental should be paid to all unable to meet his or her needs as a result in compensation for a civilization’s preemption of those natural rights.
The American Declaration of Independence starts with: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. This did not set out all unalienable rights, merely some of them.
Amendment IX to the USA constitution provides: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
USA President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union Address to the Congress, January 6, 1941 said essentially:
The first freedom is the freedom of speech, not to be construed to deny or disparage others is retained by the people everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb
I also took concepts from the ebook entitled: “Return of the Greek Gods: Wealth Disparity Solution” which I wrote under my pen name and which, in applicable part is set out below:
Brainstorming with the Gods
“In Atlantis and Mu they simply reduced the hours that were socially obligatory for each able person when productivity went up. As to school, isn’t that free to all students? It is obviously a really great benefit to the entire population for the citizens to be as educated as their mental capacity allows.” said Apollo. “I do not understand why anyone would be expected to work forty hours a week when, say, 20 hours by everyone able to work, including the unemployed, would produce all that was needed. Why not let robots do all the farming, repair of machinery, cleaning, manufacture of clothing from weaving to tailoring, and routine medical work; almost any work human beings had to do in Troy and ancient Greece? It seems just too strange to believe that any intelligent society would not have a method to insure distribution of goods produced by robotic means to those formerly needed to produce those goods as well as to the rest of the society. Are we misunderstanding your system?”
“Well,” Megan said, appearing abashed. “Let’s say an employer has 100 employees and needs them to produce all the goods which he sells. Then he buys robots, or more productive machines and can produce the same goods with those robots and just thirty of the employees. The employer will ‘lay off’ the seventy workers no longer needed. With 100 qualified people seeking the same job the supply of labor is increased so that employer would get not only the benefit of not having to pay 70 people replaced by robots but can also cut pay to people to fill the positions of the 30 positions he still needs to fill with humans. Economists and employers justify this by saying everyone is paid what they are worth even if that is not a ‘living wage’ as defined by Republican President Teddy Roosevelt. Many who are paid less than a living wage are even told by their employers who keep profits high by keeping pay low, to apply for welfare benefits. This means that everyone else subsidizes those employers.”
“In Atlantis and Mu, each person was entitled to a basic monthly allowance which took care of their basic food, shelter and clothing needs. The productive machinery was owned by the society as a whole and a percentage of production was distributed equally. This usually amounted to at least fifty percent of the total production of each of those societies. Their economists and elected leaders would determine what this was per person each year in terms of their money. They would use that as a basis for distribution of the allowance, factoring in the differing needs of children of different ages for the total family allowance. For a while, I think it was Atlantis, not Mu, that tried to use ration books which had the number and weight of almost all the goods, including foods and clothing, to which each person was entitled, reflected in coupons but this proved much too cumbersome. The leaders would also determine the percentages of the total production not distributed in the minimum allowance but that had been held back to fund research, the arts, and to build or maintain common facilities such as roads, bridges, and for an emergency fund for things like floods.”, said Apollo.
Josh Morgan and his two young friends were silent as they absorbed this information and compared it to their life experiences.
“In our society, and maybe all of them now, most of the robots and other machinery for production are owned by the people who own the businesses using them. If they can get human labor cheaper, they do so. It is a race to the bottom for the majority of people who do not own the means of production. the supply of non-human and outsourced Labor keeps increasing as we advance.”, said Josh.
“Yeah, it is hard to compete with a robot, or with someone in another country who will take ten percent of your wage to do some job. Jobs with a living wage get scarce everywhere with cheaper transportation and advances in science.”, said Darrin
“In Mu and Atlantis, the robots, machinery and resources in the countries belonged to all the citizens. Access to advanced machines and rare resources was limited to those deemed qualified by their peers to properly use them. Those able to do most got the most respect and, in addition to their basic allowance, got their pick of extremely rare goods as well as their treasured access to advanced machines and robots. How did a minority of people in your country gain such control over the lives of everyone in the country?” asked a puzzled Artemis.
“That is beyond me,” said Darrin with a bemused smile. But Professor Morgan knows a lot about many societies and probably knows the answer to that.
“Yeah.”, said Megan.
“I have often tried to puzzle through the reasons for the accumulation of wealth among so few. It seems that it is partly a hangover from the time of monarchies. While we no longer have inheritance of civil power, we still have inheritance of economic power, the transfer of wealth accumulated by individuals who either had a lot to do with the creation of a fortune or merely inherited most of it. Most forms of ownership of land and resources is a remnant of the feudal system. There, all land in a kingdom were owned by the king. He could grant or take it back at will”, said Josh.
“In addition, psychologists hypothesize that many who accumulate more than most could consume in two lifetimes, have a great fear of economic failure, losing their wealth and the ability to take care of their families. Since there are many impoverished people in our country, there are more beggars in cities now than I ever saw twenty years ago, such fears are not wholly irrational.”
“Any method of disproportionate accumulation of wealth seems strange to us. After all, the needs of each citizen is probably very similar to that of every other citizen, given differences in age and health. This led to simple demand distribution and sharing of goods among people, much like that at a common dinner table where people with differing appetites, such as Megan and Darrin, and you, Josh, are all equally satisfied and no one begrudges the greater consumption by Darrin to meet his needs. Both Mu and Atlantis had a society governed almost as though it was one large family.” said Apollo.
Josh responded:”That may be where we will end up but it probably will take some time. Some nations purported to be communistic, which meant goods were supposed to be distributed as you say. The motto of the people who thought up the concept was ‘To everyone according to their need; From everyone according to their ability.’ but dictators took over and made sure that they and their supporters got the lion’s share. Before communism there was a movement for liberty, equality and fraternity in France where the same approach to ownership and distribution of goods was contemplated.”
“What happened?”, asked Artemis.
” Monarchs still were in control in a majority of countries and sent armies against the French. After a number of successful battles against the monarchists, the French general, Napoleon, took over the government. France was a monarchy until many years later. Equality of access to goods was never realized. In our country, we got rid of monarchy and luckily our general George Washington refused to be a monarch or we would probably have reverted to that type of government.
“So, did you set up a group to rule the new country?”, asked Artemis.
“I remember reading that people offered to make the General who led the Revolutionary War soldiers, George Washington, the king of the United States. Is that true Professor?” asked Megan.
“There is no documentary proof of that that I know of.” said Josh, ” and I looked for some.”
“There were many elected kings in ancient Greece.”, said Cronus.
“Monarchy changed considerably from that in ancient Greece.”, said the Professor. “Hundreds of years before our revolution, monarchy had become a form of government where the king was held to have full power, even life and death, over everyone and everything in the country he was the king of. Monarchs’ had control of armies and were supported by the commonly held belief, strongly supported by the leaders of religious sects allowed to be in the country by the king, that he and his children who ruled after him, ruled because ‘God’ had anointed him to do so.”, said Josh. “To go against your monarch was to go against your God and to risk the eternal fires of hell. Is it any wonder that monarchy lasted so long?”
“In the circumstances, it is almost unbelievable that anyone would revolt anywhere.”, said Megan.
“Well, some religious leaders, like Calvin, and some philosophers, Jean-Jacques Rousseau for one, believed that the people could oppose actions which were not good for society, and, per the philosophers, that the source of all government was the people governed who established their society by an unspoken social contract that also determined the government over them.”, said Josh.
“Our Constitution established a new type of government: it has three branches, each with powers that act as checks on the other two. The legislative branch is the only one that can pass laws or declare War; raise money by taxation and tariffs and appropriate money to meet legislative goals or national defense. The people of each state have representatives in the legislature. The executive branch has the President who is aided by a vice-president, both being elected by citizens of all of the states. There are thousands, maybe millions, of people employed to aid the President in carrying out the law. The third branch which is made up of nine people nominated by the president to be a judge whom the representative branch must accept or turn down and once nominated and consented to are in office for life. The justices decide the issues that arise between the executive and the representatives and also on constitutional questions brought before it.” I think that the division of powers is why our Republic has outlasted any other in history.” mused the Professor.
“In all of that I heard nothing about controlling the accumulation of wealth. In a society with such unequal distribution of goods, it seems probable that those who accumulate goods would gain power over others.”, said Artemis.
“Well, in our system we have one facet which I regard more highly than the concept of equal access to goods for all, capitalism. If you look at any living organism, it will, shortly after birth, display a supreme indifference to the needs of others, whether sibling or parent. All of its motivation is towards its own survival and that innate characteristic takes years to channel into concern for first, family, and finally, in some but not all, societal needs. Capitalism capitalizes on this natural urge. In a form of meritocracy, the innovator, whether in creation of goods, e.g. Ford, Jobs, Gates, Wrigley to name a few, or in creation of methods of distribution that are less costly to customers, e.g. Sears, Walton, Amazon, etc. are, or were, rewarded by millions or billions of dollars above the average income. Our economy benefited far more than the innovators did.”. said the Professor.
“Still, is there no concern that there will be an excessive accumulation of wealth among the descendants of the innovators? Most descendants of great innovators, do not make extraordinary contributions to society as the innovators did?”, said Artemis, obviously still wondering about this problem.
“During the decades from the end of World War II to around 1970 the concentration of wealth was not the problem it is now or that it was during the Great Depression of the 1930s. There were ‘estate taxes’ which started with lower exemptions and had progressive levels of taxation that, with high progressive taxes on income, kept concentration of wealth in control. In the last three decades, there has been a surge in both the wealth and income disparity in our nation. While billionaires like Gates, Buffett and their group of more than 115 billionaires have pledged to contribute fifty percent of their wealth to charitable causes, most billionaires contributed to politicians to maintain or increase their tax breaks and end taxation of their estates at death.”
” Some of the wealthy have also devised trusts that enable them to control the distribution of wealth from their estates three or more generations after their deaths. This ensures that their net worth will increase so that there will be larger and larger dynasties of wealth extending to their great grandchildren. I cannot believe that the disparity will be allowed to approach that which existed in France before the revolution but it is a huge problem.”, said Josh, who became silent, his forehead furrowed in worry as he thought about the future. ”
Megan chimed in:” The net worth in the United States increased by over $4 trillion from 80.3 trillion early in 2014 to $84.9 trillion dollars in early 2015. Just 160,000 families, one percent of the population, got nearly 1 trillion dollars. That one percent owned at least twenty percent of that with the 1,600 richest of those families owning over ten percent. If the net worth of the people of the U.S.A. were all owned by the federal government, with about a four percent return on it, you would have the entire National budget for 2014, $3.3 trillion.
“Remember Jason saying that the five hedge fund managers who got over one billion each in compensation in 2015 would only have to pay the capital gains rate, not the higher rate required for salary or wage income. Obviously most people would not vote for such preference to bankers, financiers and hedge fund managers. That is probably why so many people now believe that our system of representation has been corrupted by letting special interests make campaign contributions or compensate for speeches made by public officials, appointed or elected.”, said Darrin.
“Naturally those owning large stakes in our industries can also control the salaries paid to executives and even who is employed as executives, so that income disparity has been even greater than before with executives getting many times more than employees involved in production jobs. The compounding effect of higher incomes and income from investments, instead of jobs, with jobs income being taxed at a higher bracket than interest, capital gains, and dividends, there being payroll taxes on the income of the worker but not the investor, is evidenced by the vast increase in net worth of the wealthy recently. For instance, On March 10, 2010, Forbes listed the net worth of Charles and David Koch at $17.5 billion each. What happened to that little nest egg in three years? Forbes says the Koch brothers are each worth $34 billion in 2013. The brothers were not unique The Pew Research Center released a study showing that between 2009 to 2011 the richest 7 percent of Americans increased their wealth by 28 percent while the remaining 93 percent of households lost 4 percent of their net worth. The study analyzed Census Bureau data for the period.”, said Professor Morgan, slumping in his chair, dejected
“Whew.” mused Darrin, “no wonder that at least one billionaire worries that people with pitchforks are coming after him!”