posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 03:41 PM
I just want to share an idea playing in my mind. I'm going to share it here, because this is a place where people will think about things even if
they're completely different to what they're used to. And because this is a place where if you have a bad idea, people will say so.
A lot of people talk about how our social safety net programs amount to a form of socialism running alongside capitalism, or amount to a welfare
state, or whatever other thing. The opinions are as varied as the people. So I wanted to share my fairly simple, probably hopelessly naive idea of
what I feel could work for this country, for the world, for whoever wanted to try it.
Instead of the amounts of money that get dumped into benefits to provide the needy with food and shelter, benefits that sometimes are exploited and
other times don't do enough or help a person in need, what if we create a simple, minimalist standard of living, and allow anybody, anyone at all who
wants to, to live this "free" life.
What I imagine are large apartment blocks made up of small apartment units. Nothing fancy at all, nothing special. A tub/shower, toilet and sink in
a small bathroom, a kitchenette with a small fridge, sink, and cooktop, and a 1 room living/bedroom. A few hundred square feet total. The buildings
themselves should be made to be well insulated from the elements and durable to minimize maintenance. Something like ICF construction comes to mind.
The roofs should be covered with solar panels and solar collectors for pre-heating of water to keep utility costs down. Perhaps a wind turbine on
each building can help generate energy.
Each building will have attached to it the means to produce the nutrient requirements for the inhabitants. This should be done hydroponically, with
treated waste from the apartment providing as much of the required inputs as possible. Legumes and amaranth (for example) will provide protein, while
standard vegetables will provide the remaining carbohydrate and vitamin requirements.
Anyone who wants to live in one of these units, need only ask for a key. No verification of income, nothing. Just ask and receive. However, each
inhabitant, while there, will be required to perform activities in the food production or waste treatment portion of the building in order to receive
their food, unless they are granted an exemption for physical or mental reasons, such as age or disability.
No further services will be provided to the inhabitants, simply food and shelter of the most basic nature.
Now, of course this will be very expensive. But if the government laid out the money, does that really matter? Contractors and construction workers
from the area would reap the rewards of the building. Creating this more sustainable welfare system should also create savings in the housing and
food assistance sector of current government spending, while also making far more implausible the need for anyone to claim cash assistance such as
welfare. Things such as unemployment insurance could also be scaled back or even privatized.
Someone might say, "Yes but the system will be abused by people who are just too lazy to work", and I say, "Good". The mandate that everyone must
work to live has, in my opinion, flooded the employment market with under-motivated, under-performing individuals who frustrate employers and lower
the overall opinion of workers. And if any of you have ever worked at a place where most of the employees didn't seem to care, you'll know what I
mean when I say that even a person with a good work ethic is easily dragged down into this same mindset. Imagine if the only people who were working
were people who were genuinely choosing to, not people just trying to make enough to pay their rent. Some people might choose to work only part-time,
enough to bank up money to get a television, a car, money for more premium groceries such as meat and baked goods, whatever they liked.
But, if someone chose not to participate, if someone wanted to make their own way, they surely could, and more power to them. Most people, I think,
would prefer a larger apartment, or a house, an estate or a farm. They'd prefer to eat bread and meat and cheese and cookies. They'd like to go to
the bar on Friday night, or to the movies, or whatever. Most people, I believe, would voluntarily participate in capitalism. While those that
didn't care to, couldn't make it, or had just fallen on a hard time could take shelter in one of these "socialist" enclaves.
I imagine that capitalism would truly flourish when people were participating for improvement and perks, rather than just to survive. Sure, a person
whose survival is on the line will push and push hard to live, I don't doubt that at all, but doesn't this aspect of capitalism also give rise to
the greed, hatred, and jealousy that we see in our lives and economy? Doesn't it fuel everything most people are against, from the race wars to the
cut-throat behavior of corporations?
I truly believe that if it were an option to opt-out of capitalism, or rather, to opt-in, that we'd see far more of the entrepreneurial spirit that
gave capitalism the glowing reputation that, despite its many many flaws, it still retains.
Comments, additions, arguments, and flames welcome.