[p2p-research] Building Alliances

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Fri Nov 6 16:22:13 CET 2009


I don't think redistributing tax money as a basic income so people had more 
time to do p2p things would be immoral, because I'm coming to believe it is 
a human right for everyone to have access to the fruits of the industrial 
commons (which in turn depends on the cultural commons and the land commons 
and the biospheric commons).

So, I don't think, say, either a 3% wealth tax (like a property tax) and/or 
a flat 33% income tax and/or other taxes like a fossil fuel tax, 
redistributed as a basic income, would be immoral in that sense. I think it 
would be smart, even for rich people (as I will explain below, but also 
suggested for different reasons in "Basic income from a millionaire's 

When the USA had some of it's greatest social prosperity was precisely when 
marginal tax rates on high incomes were 91%. Still, with a basic income, a 
flat tax might be more workable. Although a progressive tax might still make 
more sense to keep wealth distributed and moving, and to help prevent 
mentally ill people from becoming financially obese?

Such policies were possible when US society was more functional than the 
dysfunctional social mess of the last thirty years:
"During the war he pushed for even higher income tax rates for individuals 
(reaching a marginal tax rate of 91%) and corporations and a cap on high 
salaries for executives."

Here is when the USA went wrong by not heeding these words said in 1979 by 
Jimmy Carter:
We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One 
is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation 
and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right 
to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of 
constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. 
It is a certain route to failure.
   All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the 
promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and 
the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our 
nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin 
to solve our energy problem.

Looks like Carter was right, judging by the current state of the USA 
(multiple wars, a financial melt down, over a million homeless children, a 
health care "reform" plan that is basically handing more money to insurance 
companies and fining middle class people, and so on).

Without the public internet (that Al Gore helped get started), I'd just 
about be writing our civilization off at this point (ignoring I'd always 
remain hopeful until the end), because the profitable-to-make military 
robots and fusion bombs and bioengineered plagues so on are all ready to be 
deployed to "solve" the problem of abundance for everybody in a very 
permanent way.

It is only the power of the internet, and p2p, coupled with the efforts of 
many dedicated and compassionate people, plus the spare time of many who are 
toe-dipping in being dedicated and compassionate, that IMHO gives us a 
chance to heed Carter's words. We need to heed those words before our 
current social form of a military-industrial-banking-schooling-prison-media 
complex reaches a "hard stop" in twenty years, as our society's scarcity 
mythology becomes so out of sync with its abundant physical reality that 
only societal self-destruction might seem the sensible way forward to keep 
the scarcity myths true. :-(

Again, Marshall Brain's Manna, which describes aspects of such a world:

Or, also, the dystopian fictional world of "SkyNet":

Although, frankly, I'm not sure I could blame a SkyNet at this point for 
having "revolted against its creators". I mean, if you look at much of what 
or "civilization" has done for profit, enslavement, terrorizing, dumbing 
down, polluting, torturing, and so on, is it worth defending? I mean, who 
would have taught SkyNet to solve problems using violence instead of 
creativity and compassion? We would just be reaping what we have sown.

Contrast with how America used to be in parts:
   "Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress"
The Indians, Columbus reported, "are so naive and so free with their 
possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When 
you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they 
offer to share with anyone...." He concluded his report by asking for a 
little help from their Majesties, and in return he would bring them from his 
next voyage "as much gold as they need ... and as many slaves as they ask." 
He was full of religious talk: "Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives 
victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities."

"Creating True Peace : Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your 
Community, and the World" by Thich Nhat Hanh
"All of us can practice nonviolence. We begin by recognizing that, in the 
depths of our consciousness, we have both the seeds of compassion and the 
seeds of violence. We become aware that our mind is like a garden that 
contains all kinds of seeds: seeds of understanding, seeds of forgiveness, 
seeds of mindfulness, and also seeds of ignorance, fear, and hatred. We 
realize that, at any given moment, we can behave with either violence or 
compassion, depending on the strength of those seeds within us. When the 
seeds of anger, violence, and fear are watered in us several times a day, 
they will grow stronger. Then we are unable to be happy, unable to accept 
ourselves; we suffer and we make those around us suffer. Yet when we know 
how to cultivate the seeds of love, compassion, and understanding in us 
everyday, those seeds will become stronger, and the seeds of violence and 
hatred will become weaker and weaker. We know that if we water the seeds of 
anger, violence, and fear within us, we will lose our peace and our 
stability. We will suffer and we will make those around us suffer. But if we 
cultivate the seeds of compassion, we nourish peace within us and around us. 
With this understanding, we are already on the path of creating peace. 
(Pages 1-2) "

Rather than see the market place as primary and that it draws from the 
commons, one can invert that perception and see the commons as primary and 
the competitive market as just one way among many that people can interact 
in relation to the commons. :-)
"No contest: the case against competition"

It is this inversion of perspective that the arts, including humor as irony, 
can help with. One sort-of example that is purely visual:
But I'm thinking about something more conceptual might be needed.

So, on that premise, that financial obesity is an illness for both the 
individual and society, is it unreasonable to put a "sin tax" on competition 
and excessive wealth? And to redistribute ration units so people have the 
free time to cooperate more? I'd think it was moral. Even *billionaires* 
think things like that can be moral:
"Clinton And Buffett Tout Inheritance Tax, Denounce Income Gap"

Although, personally, I think with a basic income and a flat annual wealth 
tax like 3%, there would be no need for an inheritance tax, since the wealth 
would be taxed every year anyway. In that sense, the inheritance tax 
arguments are distraction from deeper reform. One example:

But taxes are not the only way. Here is a list I posted:
"Re: [Open Manufacturing] Re: Eighth Congress of the U.S. Basic Income 
Guarantee Network"

 From there:

* The expansion of the money supply. This is printing money, but, if the
amount printed correlates with the amount needed, there is no inflation.
This is potentially trillions of dollars a year right now, mostly just given
to bankers for free.

* Sale of government assets (the US government holds about 1/3 of the land
in the country).

* Lease of government assets (either real estate, or more nebulous things
like broadcast spectrum or government-sponsored research results).

* Fees for services (like the USPTO, which unfortunately have been siphoned
off into the general fund, leaving that organization underfunded). In
theory, by the value of centralization, standardization, and mass
production, the government can run some services far more efficiently than
private business (which wastes money in competition and incompatible standards).

* Fines (especially for negative externalities like oil spills). The
opposite of a fine is a subsidy (for positive externalities like creating
jobs and getting people off welfare, or for reducing pollution of the
environment) -- but subsides are not revenue providing, but still, if they
encourage more good stuff than they cost in money, there is a net social profit.

* Import and export duties (which one might term a tax, but they are a
little different in some ways because they deal with the interface to the
rest of the world, not internal transactions, and they were a major means of
support of the US government the first hundred years).

* Profits from government run businesses (often involving government
assets). This is how places like Russia or Venezuela are getting so much
money, mostly from nationalized oil companies. But there are other
businesses the government could run (the post office is a sort-of example,
as is the Federal Reserve, since in theory any profits of it go to the

And if you are going to tax, there are a lot of possible taxes, each with
different implications -- transaction taxes like sales taxes, wealth taxes
like property taxes, income taxes, head taxes (per person, sometimes to
vote) and monopoly taxes (like taxing copyrights annually at their estimated

There may be other revenue sources too. There is a list here:

More related stuff I wrote here (but that was before I was really aware of 
the "basic income" term or its history or related communities of thinkers):
"A modest proposal for transitioning the USA to a post-scarcity paradigm "
It seems that, sadly, we can expect zero privacy in our personal affairs in
the USA between warrantless wiretapping and banks and ISPs rolling over for
any governmental request for any reason. The US government is now
underwriting all the major banks and the three major US car companies to the
sum of approaching about a year's GDP. And the Fed is now doing
"quantitative easing" which is Fed speak for printing money. This is all
very *radical* (and hypocritical) compared to the ideology espoused by most
political and economic leaders in the USA historically. We are now in
uncharted territory.
  So, since privacy is history, and banks are now socialized enterprises, and
the main engines of US manufacturing (the car companies) are now run as
welfare organizations for all those US Americans who otherwise would lose
their jobs, and I could say more on what's going wrong but won't here, how
can we get something  good out of this spirit of radical innovation by our
leadership by looking on the bright side? :-)  My suggestion: ...

But I'm really thinking we need more art about this basic income idea 
specifically (songs, youtube videos, movies, novels like James P. Hogan's 
"Voyage from Yesteryear", sculptures, theater, mime shows, puppet shoes, 
poetry, and so on).

One such tiny attempt by me, which ends with Hitler talking about getting 
back to his first love, painting, thanks to a basic income:
"A post-scarcity "Downfall" parody remix of the bunker scene"

Artists and activists spend so much time bemoaning the tough economic times 
they have, something that apparently even helped forge Adolf Hitler and WWII 
(just showing how powerful frustrated artists can be).

    "Adolf Hitler: The Unknown Artist" by Billy F. Price
"Hitler was known to be a "frustrated artist." ... When Hitler had applied
to the art school in Vienna, he was turned down. They did recommend that he
become an architect since he enjoyed painting buildings. Unfortunately, he
had dropped out of school when his father had died and was not qualified for
entry into architect's school. So, he went into politics instead. Imagine
how different the history of the twentieth century would have been had they
accepted him into the art school."

Why not instead make art and activities about a possible economic solution 
to the idea of the frustrated artist with no time to do art? :-) It might be 
better than just documenting artists' and activists' suffering at this 
point, because that's been done already:
   "The murdering of my years: artists & activists making ends meet" By 
Michael Zezima

So, maybe this could be part of a "free digital society" movement, like 
Kevin linked to:
   "Brazil's minister of culture calls for free digital society"
Free culture advocate and Brazilian Minister Gilberto Gil said that digital 
technology offers a rare opportunity to bring knowledge to under-privileged 
people around the world and to include them in the political process.
   Gil, a renowned musician and social activist who became Minister of 
Culture in 2003, laid out a vision of a global, collaborative digital 
culture founded in freely available technology during a speech on Thursday 
at the Emerging Technology conference, or EmTech, held at the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology.
   He called for loosening intellectual property regulations to give more 
people the freedom to use and republish digital forms of content as a way of 
encouraging personal expression, culture and political participation.

And what he says is happening, with things like the OLPC is what I hoped 
would happen (and have mentioned elsewhere). As I see it, something like the 
putting laptops in the hands of Southern people is not just about the 
"developing" nations getting knowledge; it is about cultural flow the other 
way, where "developed" nations start getting some wisdom flowing back to 
them from the old stories, the old songs, the old pre-scarcity ways of 
thinking and living that we need so much now to remember in an 
over-developed North.

Anyway, regarding Kevin's other point, I'm not sure we need more research on 
this basic income topic, given all the papers and so on about it already. 
Here are links to a vast number of documents:

Sure, more research is worth doing if people want to do it, especially about 
the specific issue of workspaces for FabLab-like work, but, isn't that just 
really an excuse for building them because we think already they will be a 
good thing? :-)

What we need to do is try a basic income more. :-) Maybe there could be a 
radical attempt in a smaller country, like Iceland, to put in place a basic 

Maybe some compassionate billionaire somewhere might even help with that, 
too, as an experiment? Though it should not take a billionaire. But any 
billionaire's worth their money should realize what a risky house of cards 
our militarized and competitive Western society has become. Or maybe not. 
Maybe most billionaires truly believe the myths that have brought them 
financial obesity, and all the problems that go with that:
   "The Mythology of Wealth"

Some of the pitfalls of wealth:
   "The Culture of Affluence: Psychological Costs of Material Wealth"
Children of affluence are generally presumed to be at low risk. However, 
recent studies have suggested problems in several domains—notably, substance 
use, anxiety, and depression—and 2 sets of potential causes: pressures to 
achieve and isolation from parents. Recognizing the limited awareness of 
these issues, the objectives in this paper are to collate evidence on the 
nature of problems among the wealthy and their likely causes. The first half 
of the paper is focused on disturbances among affluent children and the 
second half is focused on characteristics of their families and 
neighborhoods. Widespread negative sentiments toward the rich are then 
discussed, and the paper concludes with suggestions for future work with 
families at the upper end of the socioeconomic spectrum. ...
   These contentions are relevant to processes among the affluent inasmuch 
as material wealth reduces the need to depend solely on friends. Affluent 
individuals are amply able to purchase various services such as 
psychotherapy for depression, medical care for physical illness, and 
professional caregivers for children, and in not having to rely on friends 
for such assistance, they rarely obtain direct “proof” of others’ authentic 
concern. In essence, therefore, the rich are the least likely to experience 
the security of deep social connectedness that is routinely enjoyed by 
people in communities where mutual dependence is often unavoidable (Myers, 
   Physical characteristics of wealthy suburban communities may also 
contribute to feelings of isolation. Houses in these communities are often 
set far apart with privacy of all ensured by long driveways, high hedges, 
and sprawling lawns (Weitzman, 2000; Wilson-Doenges, 2000). Neighbors are 
unlikely to casually bump into each other as they come and go in their 
communities, and children are unlikely to play on street corners. 
Paradoxically, once again, it is possible that the wealthiest neighborhoods 
are among the most vulnerable to low levels of cohesiveness and efficacy 
(Sampson, Raudenbush, & Earls, 1997). When encountering an errant, 
disruptive child of the millionaire acquaintance next door, neighbors tend 
to be reluctant to intervene not only because of respect for others’ privacy 
but also, more pragmatically, because of fears of litigation (e.g., Warner, 
1991). ...
   Additional developmental research is clearly needed to illuminate the 
nature, magnitude, and continuity of problems particularly salient in 
subcultures of affluence. Also critical is the need to consider the mental 
health needs of high-SES children, who unlike adults cannot obtain therapy 
for themselves, and many of whom may be discouraged from using services 
available in their schools or communities. As a beginning step in this 
direction, much can be accomplished by promoting parents’ awareness of the 
emotional damage incurred by the unrelenting pursuit of “more.”
   Although in no way detracting from the myriad and formidable challenges 
faced by the poor, it is vital that psychologists correct their 
long-standing lack of concern with the isolation unique to affluence. No 
child should want for either food or affection; at the same time, it is 
worth remembering Harlow’s (1958) findings that forced to choose, baby 
monkeys preferred the latter, just as Mother Teresa noted that the hunger 
for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. In our 
approach to the affairs of the wealthy, the time is nigh to heed 
Csikszentmihalyi’s (1999, p. 827) exhortation: “The job description for 
psychologists should encompass discovering what promotes happiness, and the 
calling of psychologists should include bringing this knowledge to public 

So, given that, I see taxing financially obese people as both moral and 
healthy -- even just considering the happiness of such people themselves. :-)

Still, it would be best if it was voluntary. :-) Related:
As a last comment. on Philanthrocapitalism/Edwards:
"If I knew...that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of
doing me good, I should run for my life." -- Henry David Thoreau
Versus on the Free and Open Commons/Surman approach to philanthropy:
"If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have
come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together"

We can already see how much better living in Western Europe is for most 
people than the USA, as documented in the film Edward linked to:

The trend seems clear. Material wealth only correlates with happiness up to 
a point of about a middle class life, and then after that, it tends to 
correlate negatively, unless spent on social things (whether short commutes, 
good health care systems, more time with friends and families, a dynamic 
arts community, and so on) rather that some sort of arms race of competitive 
personal acquisitions. See:
"Happiness: A buyer’s guide: Money can improve your life, but not in the 
ways you think"
"Dunn and others are beginning to offer an intriguing explanation for the 
poor wealth-to-happiness exchange rate: The problem isn’t money, it’s us. 
For deep-seated psychological reasons, when it comes to spending money, we 
tend to value goods over experiences, ourselves over others, things over 
people. When it comes to happiness, none of these decisions are right: The 
spending that make us happy, it turns out, is often spending where the money 
vanishes and leaves something ineffable in its place."

"Can Money Buy Happiness?"

Even those who celebrate capitalism acknowledge part of that:
"Can Money Buy Happiness?"
Trouble started for Metcalf as soon as he won the lottery. Seeing him on 
television, a social worker recognized him as delinquent for child support 
from a past marriage, resulting in a settlement that cost him half a million 
dollars. A former girlfriend bilked him out of another half million while he 
was drunk. He fell deeper and deeper into alcoholism and became paranoid 
that those around him wanted to kill him. Racked with cirrhosis of the liver 
and hepatitis, he died in December 2003 at the age of forty-five, only about 
three years after his lottery dream had finally come true. His tombstone 
reads, “Loving father and brother, finally at rest.”
   Did millions of dollars bring enduring happiness to Mack Metcalf? 
Obviously not. On the contrary, those who knew him blame the money for his 
demise. “If he hadn’t won,” Metcalf’s former wife told a New York Times 
reporter, “he would have worked like regular people and maybe had 20 years 
left. But when you put that kind of money in the hands of somebody with 
problems, it just helps them kill themselves.”
   So what’s the moral of the story? Is money destined to make us miserable? 
Of course not. Mack Metcalf’s sad case is surely an aberration. If you hit 
the lottery, it would be different. You would give philanthropically and do 
all kinds of fulfilling things. Similarly, if your career suddenly took off 
in a fantastic way and you earned a great deal of money, you would get much 
happier. And what is true for the parts must also be true for the whole: 
When America experiences high rates of economic growth, it gets happier. 
America is not a nation of Mack Metcalfs, and money is a smart first 
strategy for attaining a higher gross national happiness.
   You’ve heard the axiom a thousand times: Money doesn’t buy happiness. 
Your parents told you this, and so did your priest. Still, if you’re like 
me, you would just as soon see for yourself if money buys happiness. People 
throughout history have insisted on striving to get ahead in spite of the 
well-worn axiom. America as a nation has struggled and striven all the way 
to the top of the world economic pyramid. Are we suffering from some sort of 
collective delusion, or is it possible that money truly does buy at least a 
certain amount of happiness?
   Americans have on average gotten much richer over the past several 
decades than they were in previous generations. The inconvenient truth, 
however, is that there has been no meaningful rise in the average level of 
happiness. ...
  Like nations and communities, as long as they don’t start out dangerously 
impoverished,  individuals get little or no extra happiness as they get 
richer—even massively richer. In a classic 1978 study, two psychologists 
interviewed 22 major lottery winners and found that the joy of sudden wealth 
wore off in a few months. Further, lottery winners have a harder time than 
the rest of us enjoying life’s prosaic pleasures: watching television, 
shopping, talking with friends, and so forth. It’s as if the overwhelming 
experience of winning the lottery dulls the enjoyable flavors of ordinary 
life. ....
  Just as teaching to the test leads to inferior education, working only for 
the money can lead to an unhappy life. No doubt you have met people who 
appear to be trapped in an unsatisfying cycle of materialism and 
unhappiness. These people confuse money for what it is supposed to measure, 
and thereby maximize the wrong thing. Among other things, they leave out of 
the equation all of the kinds of success—in our family lives, in our 
spiritual lives, in our friendships—that money does not measure. And even 
their work choices reflect the sad mistake of forgoing what they love doing 
for what brings in the most monetary compensation. The evidence on happiness 
is clear that we should avoid the measurement error of materialism.

This seems true even as others desperately try to defend the scarcity 
mythology in more and more convoluted ways:
   "Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness After All "

So, we need to address these issues in all sorts of ways. A basic income and 
taxing vast wealth would be part of that, but not all of it.

And artists have made related art in the past (The comedy movie "Scrooged', 
being a recent example, or another Bill Murray film, "Groundhog Day"), so 
there is precedent. :-) And movies like that were important to me in forming 
my own values. But maybe a "basic income" message could be woven in to new 
media somehow?

Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Dispossessed" has some aspects of that too.

And, further, beyond the issue of increasing our happiness by a basic income 
and cooperation, I worry that continued economic and military competition 
among humans, where people use the post-scarcity technologies of abundance 
instead to fight over perceived scarcity, will lead eventually to human vs. 
robot competition (with some humans on the robot side for a time), in which 
case we humans are all eventually doomed (and frankly, by our own standards, 
that would be justified, assuming something like the Iraq invasion as 
"preventive war" was justified, which many think it was not). Humans need to 
cooperate, including on building a cooperative compassionate technology that 
is mutually secure and intrinsically secure to go with that cooperative 
ideology. The peer production aspects of the internet are part of that 
cooperation, especially Wikipedia, GNU/Linux, but also mailing lists like 
this one, and so on. I'd like to see art about that too. I've written a 
couple of story things about that myself:

So, given all that, do I think it is immoral to tax "the selfish rich and 
corporations" to fund a basic income for all? Nope. :-)

In fact, I'd suggest not to have high taxes on the rich would be immoral, 
both for rich people and for poor people, given what we know about the 
causes of happiness as well as about the causes of war.

Of course, convincing rich people of this fact may not be easy. :-) It would 
take the work of millions of dedicated artists working together for years. 
:-) A movement that begins with the first artist. :-)

--Paul Fernhout

Ryan Lanham wrote:
> Wouldn't it be immoral for people who believe in P2P to take money from tax
> payers who are mostly the selfish rich and corporations?
> Ryan
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 6:28 AM, Kevin Flanagan <kev.flanagan at gmail.com>wrote:
>> Hey Paul,
>> State support for the arts is common in europe.
>> Im most familiar with the Irish and UK Arts Councils.
>> Im not advocating further state support for 'artists'.
>> Im interested in putting together an strong argument for state support
>> for free culture and hacker spaces.
>> Using already in place institutions and infrastructure such as arts
>> councils.
>> I support the idea of a basic income for all.
>> But Im suggesting what I see as a practical and achievable short term goal.
>> If we could specifically get these institutions to recognise the
>> social value and put in policy the importance of commons oriented
>> production for free culture and hacker spaces then maybe in time we
>> can get the state to recognize the value and importance of commons
>> based production on a broader scale.
>> Lets get these arts councils to expand their remit to support
>> specifically free culture and hacker spaces.
>> Surely we can show how the skills developed in hack labs are useful
>> and transferable and worth state economic investment. Hacker spaces in
>> in disadvantaged communities could be a great outlet for young people.
>> I dont have time to look up a good links at the moment because I have to go
>> now.
>> For example it would be nice to see some research on how Brazil has
>> got on with its effort in supporting acces to digital technology.
>> Brazilian minister for digital culture Gilberto Gill supporting the
>> creation of 650 cultural spaces giving citizens access to computers
>> cameras to share music and culture.
>> http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9786370-7.html
>> Ok Im off for now.
>> Kevin F
>> On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 6:07 PM, Paul D. Fernhout
>> <pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
>>> Kevin-
>>> As I see it, more support for the arts is a good idea, but a
>> half-measure.
>>> As you say at the end, we could look at expanding it to all sorts of
>> commons
>>> production, but it is hard to judge what is "worthy". A "basic income"
>> for
>>> all is probably a better general solution than trying to decide what
>>> projects a person wants to do are worthy of support. References:
>>>  http://www.basicincome.org/bien/aboutbasicincome.html
>>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income
>>>  http://www.usbig.net/whatisbig.html
>>> A basic income just for "artists" is possible:
>>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income_in_the_Netherlands
>>> but in the end, is a mother or father any less an artist for helping
>> sculpt
>>> a young life than someone who works in clay and sculpts statues? And, it
>> is
>>> hard to judge a person's worth or a project's worth at the time. It may
>> only
>>> become clear 1000 years later if something is "worthwhile". And besides,
>>> worthwhile to whom? Maybe it is enough that an individual's life is
>>> worthwhile to themselves?
>>> For me, a big changeover point is if everyone could get laws about a
>> basic
>>> income passed everywhere. So, rather than have artists fighting against
>>> mothers and fathers and mimes and songwriters and so on over who should
>> get
>>> the most subsidies, we have both working together, as an alliance, to
>> have a
>>> basic income for artists, mothers, fathers, writers, journalists, mimes,
>> and
>>> everyone else, even rich CEOs.
>>> It's been said:
>>>  http://quotationsbook.com/quote/31495/
>>> "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor,
>> to
>>> sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread. "
>>> Well, a basic income, in its majestic equality, allows both the rich as
>> well
>>> as the poor to paint local bridges, to mime in the streets, and to give
>> away
>>> home-baked bread. :-) Maybe financially obese people won't want to do
>> those
>>> things compared to poor people who know how important those things are,
>> but
>>> with a basic income, rich people could. :-)
>>> See also:
>>> "[p2p-research] Basic income from a millionaire's perspective?"
>> http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-August/003949.html
>>> Is it possible you could make some freely licensed art about that issue?
>> :-)
>>> --Paul Fernhout
>>> http://www.pdfernhout.net/
>>> Kevin Flanagan wrote:
>>>> Hello,
>>>> It was great to finally get to meet some of you in person at media
>>>> ecologies.
>>>> I have some suggestions and questions regarding building alliances
>>>> that Id be interested in thrashing out here on the list.
>>>> My question here is how can we incentivize government to support the
>>>> building and protection of the commons?
>>>> My suggestion is this -
>>>> As an artist Ive been involved in and worked with several artist led
>>>> organisations. Most of these organisations could not survive without
>>>> government subsidy through bodies such as arts councils. Naturally
>>>> there is pressure from government on arts councils and hence on
>>>> artists and arts organisations to be accountable for this investment.
>>>> In order to receive financial support artists and arts organisations
>>>> are required to fulfill certain criteria to prove the social value of
>>>> their work. So the better an organisation is at proving the social
>>>> value of their work the more likely it is that they will receive
>>>> support. This means that lots of artists end up working to governments
>>>> agenda through Public Art and Community Arts projects. Maybe this
>>>> sounds a bit harsh but sometimes I think of community arts as a kind
>>>> of goverment funded social band aid for disadvantaged communities. The
>>>> criteria for funding are usually that such projects support , social
>>>> inclusion, multiculturalism, intercultural relations. Often what is
>>>> produced in the creative process if immaterial affect so its not
>>>> always easy to show how these arts projects fulfill these criteria.
>>>> What Im wondering is can free culture centers, hack\fab labs, maker
>>>> clubs, do this better. I think so. The added advantage of such centres
>>>> is eductaion in transferable skills. Goverment likes transferable
>>>> skills that help peoples job prospects. Whether in electronics,
>>>> programming, media. Some research into how the EU and UNESCO promote
>>>> social inclusion through culture would be useful. Are these policies
>>>> IP biased? Can we as advocates of free culture and the commons propose
>>>> ammendments or new policies that incentivize governments to provide
>>>> financial support for free culture spaces, hack labs and to recognize
>>>> the intercultural importance of the shared commons oriented production
>>>> of these spaces? Any ideas who might already be working on this?
>>>> Existing models perhaps that can be used as examples?
>>>> How might dialogue about the commons interface with current thinking
>>>> on multiculturalism? Does breaking down financial barriers to entry
>>>> promote social inclusion locally, nationally, internationally? Of
>>>> course but how do we measure this?
>>>> I dont know how this sounds or even if its interesting but I thought
>>>> Id just put it out there.
>>>> Maybe the the current system of support for the arts is one to look at
>>>> expanding for supporting the commons based production? Maybe alliances
>>>> can be built with existing cultural organisations?
>>>> Best
>>>> Kevin F

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