The point of organizing together into a social group is to provide structure that supports the group better than each can do individually. The material infrastructure that supports the society can be summed up as: Well fair to all, Paid fair by all.
Once a society has gained sufficient wealth to be able to keep all of its citizens from hunger and exposure, let alone enough to provide adequate preventative healthcare and some education, it needs to incorporate this formally into its social contract.
Failure to do this impoverishes the whole population, because the society’s human capital is under utilized and the broad participation in democracy, that is the bastion against corruption and poor decision making, is thwarted.
The reason to have a material infrastructure is for the benefit of all citizens. It is not a charity program for the ne’er-do-well. It is vital to maintaining the peace and prosperity of the society as a whole because it supports a functioning political process and it enables the maximum wealth generation from the population.
Without a sound material infrastructure the society will cease to function politically or economically, and it will become increasingly inefficient as inflexible decision making and resource drain eat away at the wealth of all.
There are three fundamental parts to the new material infrastructure:
- human security infrastructure (universal basic services)
- economic enablement infrastructure (universal employment)
- structured tax system that links the first two elements (universal taxes)
Universal Basic Services
To the extent it can be afforded (see Taxes below), the human security of all citizens must be assured through a mutual promise that goes something like this:
“No matter what fortune befalls you,
I will make sure that you do not die prematurely for lack of sustenance or shelter
and I will do whatever I can to provide you with the opportunity to make the most of your life”.
The security of a society is attained through the security of its individual citizens. To reach this goal it is necessary to provide services that provide for the human needs of citizens, such as food and shelter. In order to deliver these services effectively it is also necessary to provide healthcare and transport.
To enable the maximum economic production per unit of human capital it is necessary to supplement the life sustaining human security services with education and information.
Effective participation as a citizen in a society requires legal services to be provided.
These, and all that is necessary to deliver them efficiently, make up the material infrastructure for human security. Together we refer to them as the Basic Assured Standard Environment, or BASE for short – aka Universal Basic Services.
Note that these are all services, they are not benefits or entitlements in the traditional sense implied in the ‘social security’ systems prevalent in today’s industrialized societies.
These services are delivered free at the point of need, in the most efficient and effective way available to the society at the time.
There is no monetary component to these services nor is there any implied choice on behalf of the recipient as to the location or nature of the services provided.
The enablement of maximum output from each member of society is necessary to provide the prosperity that supports the peace.
This is achieved by supplementing the human security services with economic tools that enable each citizen to contribute their skills and capabilities in the best way they can.
There is huge, latent, untapped productivity trapped inside the populations of most industrialized societies because they lack the mechanisms, or have degraded those mechanisms, such that many of their micro needs go unmet for lack of a marketplace within which to exchange micro services.
The primary enablement tool is the provision of an information infrastructure that allows the individual providers of micro services to find and connect with individual customers. In addition to the communications network, it facilitates an online marketplace that allows anyone to find someone who can provide exactly what they need, from home help to bicycle repair to custom design.
Modern information technology has enormous potential to contribute to the fabric and well-being of our societies. In this day and age information is as vital a resource as water, and we must leverage it to support the functioning of our society, our political system and the economic fabric that underpins our prosperity.
Taxes can be structured so that they provide the invisible helping hand to complement the market and support the material infrastructures that the society needs.
The mechanisms that create the invisible helping hand of such a tax structure include:
- a reasonable maximum tax burden on any unit of income
- a simple, understandable tax rate structure linked to the cost of the services they fund
- the use of compulsory, universal taxes only for the most universally accepted expenditures
taxes that match expenditures (a balanced budget) over the long run
Taken together these factors result in the following rules for the structure of taxes:
income taxes revenues are only used to fund the human security services outlined above
any citizen receiving support services and earning the average income should be paying sufficient taxes to cover the cost of the services they are receiving
the maximum rate of tax on any unit of income should never exceed 50%
all income shall be counted as income, irrespective of its source
the corporation tax rate is set at the same rate as the basic rate of income tax
What follows from these rules is a structured tax system that elegantly links the needs of society with its ability to pay for them.
Increases in either the average earnings or the efficiency of service delivery can lower income taxes for everyone, or allow a larger budget for the delivery of services.
The reality in today’s Western industrialized societies is that the cost of providing comprehensive human security support services would yield a basic income tax rate of one third. This allows for a progressive tax system while maintaining adherence to the structure and standards above.
These standards for a material infrastructure are complemented and supported by the standards for a new democracy and a new foundation for freedom.