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Citizen's Dividends, or How to Calculate Your Resource Wealth

Posted on January 27 2013 by secret santa

"Citizen’s dividend or citizen’s income is based upon the principle that the natural world is the common property of all persons (see Georgism), [a system where] all citizens receive regular payments (dividends) from revenue raised by the state through leasing or selling natural resources for private use. In the United States, the idea can be traced back to Thomas Paine’s essay, Agrarian Justice[1], which is also considered one of the earliest proposals for a social security system in the United States. Thomas Paine best summarized his view by stating that “Men did not make the earth. It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property. Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds.”

This concept is a form of basic income, where the Citizen’s Dividend depends upon the value of natural resources or what could be titled as “common goods” like seignorage, the electro-magnetic spectrum, the industrial use of air (CO2 production), etc. The State of Alaska dispenses a form of citizen’s dividend in its Permanent Fund Dividend, which holds investments initially seeded by the state’s revenue from mineral resources, particularly petroleum."

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