COINZ Official

Citizens Online Income New Zealand

Month: August, 2014

Democratic Principles

Simply pegging the Kiwicoin to the NZ dollar is not enough. What is necessary is a reason for others to invest in it. This is why the secondary lair of software will be designed around another protocol: online direct democracy. A portion of COINZ’s reserves would be converted to cash each month, and much of this would be spent on things chosen by a direct election.

Everyone who holds a minimum balance of Kiwicoins for a period greater than a month (or other interval between payments) is eligible to vote in directly democratic elections on how to spend proceeds, as well as all verified adult NZ citizens and permanent residents. This is to ensure someone doesn’t simply by and dump a large load of Kiwicoins so they can manipulate a key vote. The idea of some kind of “political interest” on held Kiwicoin balances may be an interesting idea, but can also be fairly anti-democratic and supportive of corrupt interests. As such, we will largely try to avoid that.

The actual funds released by COINZ for the results of the election may be vetoed, if the Director and board find such a cause questionable. As such, here are some rules regarding how we plan to conduct elections. Please note this is NOT a comprehensive list, and is prone to changing in the future. The following rules refer to how COINZ will distribute funds with regards to proposed uses:

1) Eligible voters may submit one proposal per month, to be voted on by peers.
2) Proposals not responded to by a certain number of votes may be ignored.
3) Funds cannot be spent on activities contrary to the letter or spirit of NZ law, especially the Treaty of Waitangi.
4) Proposals cannot promote discrimination, advocate violence, or violate human rights documents, such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Bill of Rights Act 1991, or similar laws.
5) Funds cannot be issued to an arbitrary individual or promote the election/ouster of a single individual.
6) Funds cannot be used to develop fossil fuel exploration or exploitation.
7) Funds cannot be used to build real estate, but things for community benefit may be considered.
8) COINZ may withhold funds for other reasons.

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Expanded Geopolitics of an Online Basic Income

As covered previously, a digital basic income could be a potent geopolitical advantage, for both strategically “offensive” and “defensive” reasons. As a “defensive” measure, the benefits of UBI are well-documented and thoroughly covered, but there is also some other aspects of it.

Increasingly automation and robotics threatens the traditional livelihoods of even white-collar employees. A basic income would allow them to survive, as well as up-skill and apply their skills and experience to generate new economic sectors.

In an increasingly unstable global economy, a basic income allows a strong domestic market. One government (typically) cannot control global demand and supply for their key imports and exports, so a basic income backed strong local economy can act as a fallback to such instability.

Finally, there’s the “nuclear option,” if you will: Use of a digital currency pegged to a neighbor’s currency, but still able to operate due to the decentralized nature of digital currencies (heedless of said neighbor’s policy). It would mean that the “targeted” country’s residents have a reliable source of income (perhaps a directly democratic way of deciding how to spend said income’s surplus), independent of the current government. This means that such a government (and their currency’s value) would be at the mercy of the country initiating such a project.

The last case is particularly interesting, because it could be considered either a humanitarian project or a more cynical attempt to solidify economic relationships or both simultaneously. As such, I nickname an “offensive” basic income the “Hemlock Approach.”

The natural defense against the Hemlock Approach is in fact a domestic basic income. It means that independently of foreign efforts, you can offer a better service than your would-be rivals can. If both are engaged, inflation could result, but multiple sources of income are likely to mean citizens are more robust and prone to starting businesses, consuming, and raising living standards on their own.