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Social Capitalism? Welfare State? Opt-In Capitalism

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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.

posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 03:48 PM
a reply to: TheBlackTiger

Why apartment complexes? Here in the Laurel Highlands, there are tons of standing stones, trees and natural springs. With a wetsaw and teams of volunteers, we could create stone structures here that could be made to be very comfortable year round. Using aquaponic techniques, we could grow food in excess of what we need, allowing for an income stream that could permit us to having luxury items like tech devices and the internet for people who volunteered enough hours per week to earn them. We could automate much of the system so very little labor input is needed on a day to day basis and most of us could live very comfortable lives on a ten hour work week. There's no reason for large government subsidies. The entire thing could be self-supporting. I go up into the highlands many times a year to meditate. There is something about that location that moves me on a level unmatched by any other location I have ever been to. I believe living there full time would be a very wholesome experience.

posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 03:52 PM
a reply to: Nechash

You're absolutely right. Eventually, I could imagine the entire world living in such a way.

My idea is something of a stepping stone to that kind of utopia.

posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 03:52 PM
Where does the government get the money?

Understand that government produces nothing in and of itself. It is not productive. In order for the government to provide this, the government must take what it needs to provide all this from other, productive businesses - the private economy which becomes that much less productive because of it.

Think of it as saying that someone can just choose to move in and live in your home and you must support them, no matter how minimally.

Now, you are thinking that most people wouldn't be happy on the bare minimum, but you'd be surprised at the number who would settle for it and proceed to gripe loudly. And, you would likewise be disappointed in those who would use that anger to gain power. They'd promise more and better for votes, and the poor would vote for them. Eventually, the bare minimum would become less and less like it was envisioned. And as it got better, more and more would choose not to work. Why bother? You'd have to be an idiot to have most all of what you make taken from you when you could have most of it given to you for free and find ways to game the system on the side.

Yep. it's pretty much where we are now. Oh, and then you have the entire system of workers who make their own living off administering the funds that support the non-working ... I could go on about that.
edit on 11-9-2014 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 04:00 PM
a reply to: TheBlackTiger

I like this idea, but I'm sure the government would take advantage and you'd probably have to sign your rights away or something. I would live there but still work so I can actually save some money rather than pay these ridiculously high rental costs in my city.

Heck, if we can spend trillions on wars and bailouts then we could easily do this.

posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 04:12 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

Think of it as saying that someone can just choose to move in and live in your home and you must support them, no matter how minimally.

Thats good thinking. And while you are at work they are lying on your couch watching TV, running up the electrlc bill and raiding your fridge. Best argument against that kind of welfare.

You also asked:

Where does the government get the money?

It prints it. Well, not the government the "federal" Bank. I think they are kind of tapped out right now. The banks recently got a bailout of trillions from the gov.

That was socialism on a whole other scale. The banks got their trillions and the people got the debt.

posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 04:34 PM
I have a few issues with this, firstly who is going to pay for this. Either the government prints money (lower the value of currency and thus stealing from everyone), goes it to debt or raises taxes.

Also however you are right, most people would work hard to leave this apartments but the most broken, vulnerable, unstable and dangerous people would be left behind you would be creating ghettos filled with those unable or unwilling to hold down a job.

you wou be trapping the most vulnerable and most dangerous people in soceity in the same area.
edit on 1192014 by monkofmimir because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 04:47 PM
I think it would have to be a very large 1 story building as most of those on welfare are "disabled" and cant climb a flight of stairs.

And who supplies their soap,shampoo and toilet paper?

Now what if a billionaire was to say he was going to build a factory and hire 100 people off the welfare rolls. Not only was he going to give 100 welfare recipients a job but a home also?.

He hire 10 local builders to build 10 modest homes each. That helps the economy, as does the factory being built.

You work in the factory, you live in a house. but with expectations.... Dietitians on staff to help with mandated home cooked, sit down dinners...Hate to use the term "company store" but offered good healthy food at a good price in a company store.

Tutors on staff to help with mandatory homework and good grades for school kids...

Financial people to help with budgets and such...

would that be cried out as socialism or communism or some other ism?...

posted on Sep, 21 2014 @ 07:39 PM
I like the idea of people getting basic human needs covered. It could be like a dormitory for every person requesting it. And the thing is that this would be the lowest point in society, you wouldn't have to sleep on the streets or anything like that. And from thereon people can work and afford to purchase their own private house, and everything would be capitalistic from that point on.

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