NOTES TOWARDS A UTOPIA

Thinking beyond the terms of territory, property, and ownership: instead, about things shared communally and about things exchanged and looked after in temporary custodianship. Thinking oikos and oikonomia rather than modern capitalist economy.

From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.

1.

Necessities that are in the common good and in the public interest should be public services. To be run (which mainly means: materially supported) by the public sector, subsidised by taxes (to which all contribute, proportionately and equitably, as fellow members of this cooperative), and organised mostly at local and regional level. Principles: cooperative, radical redistribution, and mutual aid. Ethos: wellbeing and welfare in the spirit of care, charity, and love. For social justice, and not for profit: the following things, places, activities, and essential workers:

  • air and environment:
    clean air in shared public spaces, natural resources, wildlife sanctuaries;
    seas, beaches, waterways, forests;
    sustainability;
    no public or private “ownership” of land, only responsible caretaking as careful guests
  • water
  • energy, electricity, heating
  • communications:
    telecommunications, telephony, internet, online data;
    postal and delivery services;
    computers and phones and other devices
  • shelter:
    accommodation, housing, dignified elder care;
    the associated construction, maintenance, and trades such as plumber, electricians, renovators, restorers;
    provision and maintenance of workplaces for all public-interest common-good activities;
    custodian, janitorial, gardening, and cleaning;
    architecture and urban planning
  • universal comfortably-livable basic income and pension
  • food, personal care, and other essentials:
    guaranteed fixed price basic items (ex. baguettes in boulangeries, coffee, wine, chocolate, sofas, comfortable durable waterproof coats and shoes, bicycles, sunscreen, toilet paper);
    guaranteed access to them using HWAET (hours worked and energy transferred) tokens, AEM (anything except money) coupons, or FRIC (fungible reciprocal intergalactic credits);
    and access to associated basic services (ex. fixing broken shoes)
  • transportation:
    public transport, taxis, bike- and car-share co-ops;
    intercity and long-distance boats, trains, and buses (electric / alternative energy);
    associated infrastructure, materials, construction, maintenance
  • health:
    medical care, medicaments, drugs, appliances (ex. wheelchairs, walkers), dentistry, opticians, psychology, (insert list of all imaginable other specialist practices and research specialisations), mental health, wellbeing, sports and exercise, counselling, social support, personal care (physiotherapy, massage therapy, hairdressing), companion animal care, parks, playgrounds, pools, outdoor recreation (of a kind that is ecologically responsible and sustainable: no golf courses or theme parts in (most of) their current senses), respite and palliative care
  • education:
    crêches, nursery, kindergarten, primary, secondary, university, training and retraining, trades, professions (medicine, law, other public-sector), performing and creative arts, community colleges, adult education, University of the Third Age, Open University, libraries, research
  • intellectual and aesthetic wellbeing:
    community centres, culture, heritage, libraries, museums, art galleries, concert venues, repositories and archives;
    storytelling, history, archaeology, journalism, creating games and puzzles, philosophy, logic, mathematics;
    support and materials for performing and creative artists, for comedians and critical commentators, and for “public residencies”
  • protection and justice,
    community rights,
    safety regulation and quality control of goods and services;
    but otherwise minimal governance and incursions into the private and personal sphere: somewhere between socialist and anarchist;
    unions as a space for settling labour disputes but with a diminishing need for them, come the revolution, in a post-capitalist cooperative world redesigned around worker, human, and environmental rights
  • shared savings:
    pooled resources,
    contingency funds for emergencies;
    on death or other departure from the commonality, all belongings (except for the very personal and intimate) go to this pool;
    no accumulation of pseudo-wealth or incentive for it,
    no inheritance of hoards, in families and across generations;
    no gated private estates (actual and metaphorical)
  • shared savings for others’ emergencies:
    outside this locality,
    for charitable humanitarian global disaster relief

2.

An open market of exchange, added value, and surplus (beyond basics, essentials, necessities):

  • An online market-place:
    virtual means there’s space for all
  • An actual market in a physical square, a place for exchange of goods and services.
    Stalls to be equitably available:
    no-one can buy a bigger one or one with a better vantage point,
    location and distribution to be a weekly lottery.
  • Both—online and actual—would be places to exchange:
    unwanted or upgraded and innovated provided basics;
    skills and services and training: darning socks, changing light-bulbs, cleaning drains, painting flowers on bicycles, dance moves, poems, puns, upcycled clothes, cakes, etc.;
    home-grown produce, makings, and shapings and reshapings;
    tips and advice, stories and histories
  • Activities would include manufacturing industries:
    extractive industries only by public permit, under strict limitations and control, and as a heavy contributor of taxes to support the public common necessary things above
  • The public sector (local and from outside) might participate as an agent:
    to trade (using FRIC) and liaise and redistribute goods and services;
    but not (ex. farms, fisheries, orchards, vineyards) as an owner, provider, and user of forced labour

3.

Banking, accountancy, and financial services to be publicly run (by citizen board; as in other forms of government, perhaps adopting a lottery system for participation) as local coop credit unions. Their activities to be limited to paying salaries out and in (as needed: given a universal basic income, salaries would eventually become obsolete, like other ancient relics of capitalist antiquity) and loans for a conservative range of actual useful things. Investment: at the public level (for new small enterprises) or as reciprocal exchanges, based on trust, between peers.

Criminalisation of insurance, speculation, vulture capitalism, tax-evasion, competitive / liberal resale, hoarding and other accumulation of property, black market, other profiteering / racketeering, and in general all anti-neighbourly and sociopathic bad behaviour.

4.

Further reading:

Come the revolution, I will share all my books to a common repository open reference and short-term circulation library. Starting with that book: essential further reading.

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