Epilogue

An untraversable chasm separates us from our egalitarian ideal. We are helplessly trapped in our prison of poverty and disparity. But perhaps we could make a start along the road that, one day, will bridge the unbridge­able and take us to that better destiny. [Footnotes]

The Inheritance Bond

The final chapter of this book painted an albeit fuzzy picture of a socio-economy that is totally different from, and wholly incompatible with, the capitalist world of today. So, what first step can be taken to inject the intrinsic fairness of this new world into today's society? The best thing I can suggest is to create an economic entity called an Inheritance Bond.

Each nation-State should list and quantify all the productive economic assets within its territory. That is, economic assets like land, minerals, industrial buildings, plant and infrastructure. It excludes dissipative (or non-productive) private property like houses and furniture. Divide the quantity of each asset by the national population giving a quantified list of productive assets per person. Confiscate all such assets from their current owners and deem each individual in the country to own a share of them as quantified on the above-mentioned list. Each citizen of the country (as a result of this they will become true citizens) must then be credited each year with the effective fair rent of the productive assets he owns.

An Inheritance Bond is the document listing the types and quantities of this parcel of productive assets that belong to each individual citizen. The quantities and types of assets that make up the Inheritance Bond will naturally change annually. As a document, therefore, each person's Inheritance Bond must be dynamic. Under to­day's technology, it lends itself to being kept as a hypertext document containing a link to a single source in which the quantities are held and updated.

An Income of Dignity

Each citizen will thus have an income which, in the absence of being allowed direct use of the assets so listed, is deemed to be a partial compensation or recompense for that disallowance. This income of dignity is his by right of birth. It is not a bene­fit. It is not an act of benevolence bestowed upon him by a condescending patron­ising capitalist State.

All large agricultural, mining, industrial and commercial enterprises must rent all the productive resources they use from the citizens of the country. This includes minerals. An enterprise may own the value that it adds to the materials it mines or forms into products: but it does not own the materials themselves. It must still pay its labourers a level of wage on which they can afford to live without having to spend all their prime time locked in productive toil. They have a need for, and a right to, time for themselves.

This gives everybody a share in the productive resources of the planet that lie with­in the boundaries of their nation. Although each cannot as yet apply his own labour to his share of them directly to gain his needs of life, he does have an inalienable source of income from them. This guarantees his subsistence at a level determined directly by the yields of nature and of the economy as a whole. It cannot be relent­less­ly squeezed into all but non-existence by capitalist politicians eager to torture an unemployed minority to win votes from a greedy arrogant self-seeking deluded employed majority.

The Right To Paid Work

Those who currently control society deny everybody else the direct use of his right­ful share of the planetary resources for turning his labour into his needs of life. Those who currently control society are therefore, through the government they support, morally obliged to provide each individual with an opportunity to work, in return for a just wage, in a job that best suits his skills and aptitudes. In other words, since they have stolen from him his portion of the planetary inheritance, they are, at the very least, morally obliged to recompense him with guaranteed ap­propriate life-long employment.

Of course, it is unlikely that those in control will recognise this moral obligation — at least, not in the beginning. Employment will therefore, for a long time, be a matter of good fortune. However, the wages, of one who has the good fortune to be employed, must be in addition to the basic income-by-right he receives from the rent on his share of the nation's terrestrial resources. On this rich planet, there is no excuse for a nation to subject any of its members to destitution or to ensnare them in the grid-lock of poverty. The Inheritance Bond guarantees that nobody can ever be subjected to such indignity by those who, in ignorance of their circum­stances, would presume to judge them by repeatedly voting into power govern­ments that despise and oppress them.

In a world controlled by greed-driven capitalists, the only way a universal opport­unity for employment can be guaranteed is by militant labour unionisation. Un­fort­unately, the only kind of pressure that labour unions can bring to bear is indirect. By withholding labour and halting production, unions end up hurting the individual consumer and ruining the innocent small artisan long before their actions have any effect at all on their invincible corporate employers. A possible remedy is for con­sum­ers and artisans to protect themselves by forming themselves into tightly-bound communities that are large enough to stand against the might of the capital­ist corporations.

With and Without It

Without the Inheritance Bond, the capitalists would inevitably win any economic war of attrition. This is because it would be the capitalists — and they alone — who would own and control all the wealth-generating resources of the planet. The lab­ourer, the artisan and the consumer would own and control none of them. The cap­italists would therefore have the means of continually regenerating their needs of life while the labourer, the artisan and the consumer were 'running on batteries' and so would not be able to provide their needs of life once they had run out of what they had stored up before hand.

With the Inheritance Bond, each individual is self-sufficient for survival while the great capitalist corporations could be starved out by the on-going rents they have to pay on the land they use and occupy and the materials they extract.

Nevertheless, in the present world, capitalist corporations are still the only mech­anisms through which almost all food, clothing, shelter and other needs of life are produced and distributed. Consequently, until these mechanisms are downsized and proliferated into landshares, the capitalist elite can still hold the rest of human­kind to ransom for profit.

Going Global

Thus sadly, in the world the way it is, the National Inheritance Bond is about as far as we can go. The global economy is so intertwined and interdependent that no one nation can unilaterally progress any further along the long road that leads from the jaws of capitalism to the lands of equity.

To progress further, all nations would have to implement the Inheritance Bond for their respective citizens. The next step would be for all the natural resources of the planet to be quantified and divided by the entire world population to create one single Universal Inheritance Bond that would be the same for every inhabitant of the planet.

Inheriting The Earth

The next step after this is to dispossess the favoured few of their hold on this pla­net and distribute real land. But then comes the big problem. For a couple of cent­uries or so now, human beings have been forced, by the industrial division of lab­our, to become more and more specialised economically. As a result, almost every human being on Earth has lost the essential knowledge, inherited from the depths of antiquity, on how to use directly the natural resources of the planet to gain his needs of life. Placed in this new world now, we would all starve.

There has to be an intermediate stage between the Inheritance Bond and the land­share. I call it, for want of a better term, the virtual landshare. This, in essence is a software model of a generic landshare. It could run on a personal computer. It en­ables a family — even from the confines of their suburban house or city flat — to operate as if in Landshare World. To connect into the real and present world of capitalism, the virtual landshare has peripheral adapters. These are extra software modules surrounding the central model. They act as bridges between the model and the various elements of the present socio-economic environment.

The virtual landshare would provide families with a means of regaining the 'lost knowledge' of the land, and present a constant and familiar user interface from the outside world as it transmuted from capitalism to universal egalitarianism. A prime example of this transmutation would be the change from the corporate-enforced life of the commuting employee to a free and unpressured option to work from home in a truly free market.

A Fundamental Human Right

To my mind, the Inheritance Bond is a fundamental human right. Without the econ­omic empowerment it affords, the generic inhabitant of this planet is essent­ially powerless to exercise the human rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Hu­man Rights of 1948. Consequently, in any fair society, it must be one of the most fundamental rights in a new and different Bill of Rights based on a family-centric view of the global socio-economy, providing protection from physical violation, psy­cho­logical oppression, poverty, forced isolation, and all the possible harm that can result from the actions of incompatible laws.

The Futility of Force

So far, I have suggested a procedure for restoring to every human being his rightful inheritance in this planet. But the capitalist elite will never willingly relinquish their disproportionate possession of the Earth. And they have the power. They control the law. And behind the law is an enormous reserve of brute force to stop whom­soever would presume to attempt to dispossess them of their obscene riches. So the re-taking of one's rightful portion of the planet on which he was born cannot be un­dertaken unilaterally. Neither can it be done by a collective any smaller than an en­tire nation.

This lesson was forcefully taught to some unfortunate members of the Movimento Sem Terra at the Carajás Massacre perpetrated on 17 April 1996 at the command of Coronel José Mário Pantoja at Eldorado dos Carajás, Pará, Brazil. These rural smallholders had been forced off their rightful land by the hired thugs of the great landowners [the latifundiár­ios] and were protesting about it. They were machine-gunned. Nineteen of them died on the spot and two more died a couple of days later. Irres­pective of who is 'in the right' and who is 'in the wrong', the forces of law always act to protect the interests of the rich and powerful.

Today there are many individuals and groups in the world who are striving, with their limited resources, through armed combat, to rectify the gross disparity among the inhabitants of this planet. They are invariably labelled by the establishment as trouble-makers or terrorists. But they can never liberate us from capitalist contain­ment and exploitation this way.

Of course, there are more clandestine ways of disrupting the disparitising forces of capitalism. The world is going paperless. All records, including land registries, will probably soon only exist as computer files. Able hackers could invade the land regi­stry databases of each country and re-allocate, to every human alive, his rightful landshare of the planet on which he was born. The names of all citizens of all count­ries could be found from databases like the National Insurance records in the UK, the Cadastro das Pessoas Físicas in Brazil and their counterparts in other countries. This would probably be a short-lived victory but perhaps it would hammer the point a little. I think it would make a great film: something like The Fifth Estate (2013), the main protagonist being a synergy between Julian Assange & Edward Snowden.

In the final push, I imagine we would need to design and build heavily armoured robot terraformers to mark out and construct farmlets [potentially while under fire from establishment forces].

Conclusion

The human life-form requires the unencumbered use of sufficient of the planet's natural resources to turn its labour into its needs of life. It is only in conjunction with these resources — in necessary and sufficient measure — that the human life-form be­comes a complete and functional biological system. For this reason, every human being must, by right of birth, have full possession and control of his or her fair portion of the planet's natural wealth generating resources.

Unless or until this fundamental right be individually restored to every human being on this planet, then subservience, disparity and poverty will be forever with us: the status quo will continue.

For each person's inheritance in the Earth to be a fixed fenced area of land is both undesirable, inflexible and impractical. My proposal is that it should be in the form of what I call a mean free space, which is an ostensibly circular hinterland whose area is proportional to the number of members in a cohabiting family group. Its form of ownership varies continually from private to public, according to the inverse square of the radial distance from its centre. Its circumference may or may not touch that of another owner's mean free space. At its centre is the owner's home surrounded by his area of private economic production. This gradually transmutes radially into public ownership for infrastructural services at its periphery.

Access to its mean free space — plus the freedom to pass across the peripheries of the mean free spaces of others — is also essential to the adequate intellectual and emotional development of the sentient human life-form. The human life-form also requires access to society in order to fulfil its wider genetic, economic, social, edu­cational and spiritual needs. It must therefore be given complete freedom to inter­act with others of its kind through an unrestrictive communications infrastructure, which would allow each individual to determine his own mix of socialisation and solitude. These must be governed according to a universal manifesto, which defines the rights and obligations of the generic individual.

Human endeavour is driven by the complex dynamical forces of the planet's bio­sphere. This imparts a complex dynamical nature to society. Humanity is thus an ever-changing quilt of regularity and turbulence. Turbulence plants unique way­marks along the long open road of history. It writes for each a unique and inspiring melody upon the regular rhythm of life. It provides each with his own personal mix of socialisation and solitude.

Each human being is, by nature, constrained to see things only from his own point of view. He is also, by nature, driven by an unrestrained lust and compulsion to acquire without limit. These two factors combine to entrap him in a vicious cycle of blind striving for unrestricted self-gain. Different human beings are, by nature, en­dowed with different abilities in different proportions. This gives some individuals an advantage over others in the realm of human interaction. This, together with the lust for unlimited self-gain, results in an unacceptably disparate society.

Human interaction is governed by laws of cause and effect which, due to the indiv­idual self-interest of human nature, are not convergent. They form an intrinsically unstable system. The complex dynamical nature of human society is thereby dest­ined eventually to destroy it. The laws of human interaction must be made to con­verge. They must form a benign self-sustaining system. This can be achieved only by upgrading the human mind to seek the interest of neighbour equally with that of self. This is not humanly possible. It is only possible at present to create a pseudo-equitable society by setting up a social infrastructure to teach and enforce a fair and equitable code of law. The human mind must undergo a quantum leap in its spiritual evolution.

Only then "the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace". Only then will we no longer need to merely "imagine all the people living for today". We will be them. But it's all just a dream.


PREV | EXIT | © December 1996 Robert John Morton