Regarding the whole “social credit” thing:
I think there is something to these notions, very tentatively; but I haven’t much of a clue, at this point, how any of it would be implemented, or even whether it could be.
Briefly, though, it seems to me that it is proper to ask the question of why some things that have obvious economic value have no monetary value. The “social credit” guru, C. H. Douglas, points out that every advance that adds value to the economy and people’s lives builds upon previous advances, that there is a sort of “heritage” component of all valuable things that isn’t owned by any particular person but is rather more or less the property of everyone. There is something to this. I’m not saying that it can be reflected in any action or conduct of the government, or in any monetary system that can be rationally instituted. I’m not even saying I agree with it, exactly. I just think that there is a kernel of a truth there, somewhere. It may or may not be meaningful in the sense that something can be done about it. It is entirely possible that nothing intelligible can be done.
Another interesting point Douglas makes concerns the fact that there is monetary value attached to, say, the land on which a factory sits. And so the profit of the factory is reduced by the payment of rent for the use of the land. But the factory also depends upon manpower, and it uses the labor of human beings to produce its profit. Each of the human beings had parents who provided the human beings who ultimately provided that labor. Yet there is no monetary value attached to this contribution, which is every bit as essential to the operation of the factory as the land on which the factory sits. No payment is made to the parents, in other words.
Is there some explanation for this absolute difference between the provision of land and the provision of human beings for labor that eludes me at the moment? Can anyone suggest why the one should have a monetary claim upon the production of the factory but the other should not?
Now, one objection could be that the labor is already being paid for through the wages to the laborer and that is the only cognizable transaction going on, and that to go beyond that and recognize claims of third parties would be something akin to a violation of the rule of self-ownership and proscriptions against servitude. There’s a kernel of truth in that objection as well. Maybe. I’m not really sure.
And as far as implementing such a regime, where – if anywhere – would a line be drawn? Do you compensate parents only? What about grandparents? Uncles and Aunts?
Or maybe this is all to be accounted for by the “heritage” idea that is part of the common pool of capital, human and otherwise.
One thought I have had. Toyed with. It is not developed. Parental discretion is advised.
But one thought that occurred to me was some kind of parallel government currency issued to everyone that would be legal tender – even though in general I hate legal tender laws – not for all debts, but for basics like food, clothing and shelter. It would function almost exclusively within national boundaries. It wouldn’t be good anywhere else or for anything else unless of course people wanted to accept it for some reason. Everyone would get some share of this “scrip” by virtue of simply being a citizen or something, presumably sufficient to have a place to live, food, and some clothing.
This would be similar to food stamps. But not precisely like food stamps, because the scrip would be more valuable. Also, there would be no restrictions imposed: the scrip must be accepted for food, clothing and shelter as legal tender for those things, but could be accepted for other things if people wanted to.
General money would still be “dollars” which would still be gold backed, and the central bank would still be history.
I am open to suggestions both: 1) further explaining and justifying the whole concept of monetizing these hitherto un-monetized things; and 2) how the monetization of such things would work.
One thing I would agree on is that if something ought to be done about the monetary system through a constitutional amendment it should be done all at once. You can’t keep going back and nitpicking the constitution, because the process of amending it is too cumbersome, and it is meant to be.