An Activism "UBI" to Help Rebalance Democracy Away From Concentrated Wealth

An Activism "UBI" to Help Rebalance Democracy Away From Concentrated Wealth

This policy would establish "activism credits" (New Zealand ActCreds) each worth one New Zealand dollar that could be exchanged for their value in NZ dollars at a central agency only by registered activist groups. Each registered voter would receive an equal allocation of NZ ActCreds (an activism "UBI") and would then be charged with reallocating them to registered activist groups of their choice. There would need to be rules about the constitution of a registered activist group, along the lines of registered charities or incorporated societies. The rules would not say anything about the objectives of the activism, just as there are no rules around the policies that may be pursued by political parties. Political parties would be excluded from being registered activist groups. Along with other policies, this policy would help to rebalance the democracy deficit of less wealthy people compared with more wealthy people and of people compared with corporations. It is necessary if we wish to reverse the trend toward plutocracy where concentrations of wealth and power influence and control government to grant themselves greater concentrations of wealth and power.

Showing 9 reactions

  • Matt Walkington
    commented 2016-12-09 13:24:28 +1300
    What I envisage is an online system where voters would visit, validate themselves, and make allocations. The choices would later be confirmed during the snale mailouts already made by the electoral commission for other purposes, so that costs were minimised. The two step process would mean two elaborate fraud steps were needed to defeat the wishes of a voter. Voting stations could be maintained in public libraries to facilitate the first step.

    At some point we may be using online systems with biometric validation for voting in general elections. Those systems could then be used for activist credit allocations.
  • Matt Walkington
    commented 2016-12-06 16:56:11 +1300
    Responding to David:

    The policy would, i expect, have the compound benefit of stimulating interest in government and public policy. Everyone would have a direct say in supporting voices calling for the society they want.

    Note: conservatives who want the status quo would simply allocate their support to groups calling for no change in specific areas.

    Note: The amount of money could start off relatively small until the system proved its worth.
  • Matt Walkington
    commented 2016-12-06 16:31:09 +1300
    Responding to David:

    The idea is pretty simple. It funds activist groups in a truly democratic way with each voter having an equal say about where the money goes independent of how rich they might be. I can afford to make donations to various groups that are working for change. Gareth can afford to set up a foundation and a political party. But there are pplenty of folks who don’t have spare money to influence public policy. Our system is faux democracy as long as money=influence remains the dominant feature that it is.
  • David Johnston
    commented 2016-12-06 12:57:20 +1300
    Why not just give people a benefit whether they’re being an ‘activist’ or going out and doing some gardening or going for a surf?
  • Matt Walkington
    commented 2016-12-05 14:52:44 +1300
    I accept that coercion and undue influence around the allocation of the activism credits could be an issue. An online system could be designed to minimise opportunities for coercion and undue influence. I’m confident suitable systems could be developed so that the implementing the policy was tenable.
  • Matt Walkington
    commented 2016-12-05 14:26:32 +1300
    Responding to Graeme:
    There are so many good and necessary things about this policy idea.
    1. The whole point of the measure would be to stimulate democracy, which it would do. More people would take an interest in democracy because they would, by the “activism UBI” have another way to have some influence,
    2. A very similar objection to your first one. If there were unused NZ ActCreds it would not matter. The surplus would just be allocated in the next period to up the UBI.
    3. Please read my description more carefully. The rules around the registered activist groups would make no value judgments about good or bad activism; that would be decided by the enrolled voters choosing where to allocate the NZ ActCredits. Political parties would be excluded from being registered activist groups.

    I don’t actually think such a system would be any more easily abused than our present electoral system. Think, for example, as the leaflets sent out by the Exclusive Brethren prior to the 2005 election.

    Anyone who believes in democracy will surely see how being poor cuts you off from the political process and, conversely, how being well off enhances your potential influence. This measure is a way to combat that situation.
  • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward
    commented 2016-12-05 12:57:30 +1300
    There’s so many problems in this. 1. Not everyone votes so there would be a ton of unused accredit in the system. 2. These sorts of credits almost represent discretionary spending. Is the electorate really going to have an interest in them. 3. By making it only ‘registered’ activist parties it is a form of control over the organisations that could lead to abuse. Overall the system is too complex with too many risks involved.
  • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward
    tagged this with dislike 2016-12-05 12:57:30 +1300
  • Matt Walkington
    published this page in Suggestions 2016-12-05 12:35:05 +1300