THOMAS PAINE’S EXCELLENT IDEA

THE IDEA of paying equal dividends to all isn’t new. It was first proposed in 1797 by the American patriot Thomas Paine.

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THE ALASKA MODEL

FOR MORE THAN thirty years, all residents of Alaska have been receiving yearly dividends from an entity called the Alaska Permanent Fund.  These dividends have ranged from about $1,000 per person per year to over $3,000.  Since children are included, a dividend of $2,000 boosts a family of four’s income by $8,000. The father of Alaska’s Permanent […]

LESSONS OF SOCIAL INSURANCE

DIVIDENDS FOR ALL can be to the twenty-first century what social insurance was to the twentieth — a major contributor to economic security for our middle class.  So it’s worth understanding how social insurance came about, and how it has managed to endure and grow. Social insurance is a system for sharing the risks of unemployment, sickness, disability and […]

FROM PIKETTY TO DIVIDENDS

NOW THAT Thomas Piketty’s work has grabbed our attention, the deeper question is, where do we go from here? Piketty’s own solution to capitalism’s ever-widening wealth gap is a global wealth tax. But there’s a more practical and politically plausible solution: equal dividends from wealth that belongs to all of us.

DIVIDENDS AND CLIMATE CHANGE

IT’S OBVIOUS how co-owned wealth dividends would benefit the middle class, but not so obvious how they’d affect climate change.  However, the effect would be considerable—and beneficial. Charging for use of our co-owned atmosphere, and paying that money to all Americans equally, is a simple and logical way to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that are destabilizing […]

POTENTIAL REVENUE SOURCES

THE QUESTIONS I address here are: (1) Is there enough co-owned wealth that we can plausibly charge for to pay meaningful dividends to everyone? (2) If so, what might some major revenue sources be? To answer these questions, we must first establish criteria for choosing co-owned assets to charge for.  The criteria I use are the following: […]

FIX THE SYSTEM, NOT THE SYMPTOMS

AMERICANS aren’t in the habit of thinking, much less acting, systemically; we prefer breaking problems into pieces.  But wealth distribution (or more precisely, wealth maldistribution) is a quintessentially systemic problem, a result of how different parts of our economy interact.  It can’t be understood without viewing it at that level, nor can it be fixed without treating it at […]

USE COMMON WEALTH TO REDUCE INEQUALITY

David Bollier reviews With Liberty and Dividends For All, August 19, 2014 EVERYBODY talks about economic inequality, but hardly anyone offers a credible way to reduce it.  French economist Thomas Piketty documented the deep structural nature of in­equality in Capital in the 21st Century, but the best solution he could come up with was a global wealth […]

RIGHTING CAPITALISM WITH DIVIDENDS

By Herb Kutchins, Point Reyes Light, August 21, 2014 PETER BARNES’ new book, With Liberty And Dividends For All, extends the author’s ongoing investigation of capitalism, identifying the system’s shortcomings and offering ideas about how to improve it for the benefit of the shrinking American middle class. Barnes, a West Marin resident who founded the Mesa Refuge writers retreat, is […]