Friday, April 8, 2011

Status - The Motivator of the Rich

So far the only point drain in my system are destroying points from purchased items that are not returned. When people have accumulated a ton of points, they will feel "rich enough" and stop contributing to the system. So someone selling apples to us would eventually get "rich enough" and not want to sell apples to us anymore. That could be fine as long as there are other apple sellers willing to sell apples to us but we're likely to run out of apple sellers. Paying the apple seller more points and raising the price of apples (creating a much needed drain in the system to keep the desirability - value - of my points high) is actually how I planned to address this problem. Funny enough, I didn't consider the scenario that the now filthy rich apple seller then buys up all the inventory and sells it for cash. Oops.

So now I'm starting to think about how to create a drain in the point system that will be fair. Perhaps a 'tax' on person-to-person point transfers. It doesn't really seem to be fair, except maybe people will accept the explanation that we need a drain on the system and this is the only thing I could think of. Yea, that probably won't fly.

So I started searching online for ideas and came across this thread http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/p ... 51#3760951. In one of the posts someone suggests to place a cap on the amount of credits a person can have. He suggested tying the limit amount to a person's 'level' in the system. Easy enough to implement in my system. But the problem in the real world, which he points out, is if there is a cap in the system then people will buy items they don't need in order to 'store' value. This might not be a problem in the online world since an unlimited number of "unique items" can be created out of thin air. It reminds me of expensive art in the real world. But in the online world, those un-counterfeit-able "unique items" can be exclusively created and sold by the game company. But, what would my company do - sell rare, collectable hologram cards?

Thinking further on that, those 'rare items' would only be incentive for people who desire to collect them. Perhaps as a status symbol of wealth. They would be sold initially at auction exclusively by my company but we wouldn't buy it back since those points/credits would be destroyed in order to create the needed drain. The cards can be sold to other members. The value of the one-of-a-kind cards then would be their exclusivity as a status symbol since they hold no redeemable value.

Interesting. Really makes a strong case in favor of intellectual property, however on a very limited basis. And even with that I still don't support it. Instead of creating an artificial law against humanity, just work out a way to make something that is impossible to counterfeit or find a different strategy.

Q & A About My New Positions

Nanos from RBEFoundation Forum wrote:
Now, what is the difference between welfare for someone aged say 20 and someone retired on a pension aged 65 ? Neither can be thought of as contributing to society at the time they are getting free government money..

And now I'm thinking we should end that practice. If someone chooses to retire, they must do so under their own steam, with some exceptions. If they are unable to do so they can enroll in a free school and receive entitlements under the school program. At least this way, they are developing new skills which they can potentially later use to contribute to society or potentially even teach those skills to others.

And with automation we now have the problem that even if everyone wanted a job, there aren't enough to go around and rather than improving, the last 20 years here at least, or is it now, 30 years.. there are even less jobs than ever before.

Right. That is the problem. But there are still jobs that need to be done that currently are not being done by machines. They require a high level of education. Clearly there are fewer low level jobs available due to automation but there clearly are still people doing those low level jobs.

when automation reaches the stage that we only need say 10% of the workforce to work to keep us in the manner to which we have been accustomed, that we really don't need the other 90% of people to waste their time trying to chase after those 10% of jobs when they could be doing something either more constructive with their time, or more enjoyable. ... But, at the same time, I can see that if we had a totally volunteer workforce, we might not have enough say dentists, so what can we do about that, apart from paying people to work.

The problem is when people want to work but there are no jobs then that is cruel, unfair and unjust. But there is little we can do about there not being enough jobs. So in that case, I recommend the free school program. I just had a vision (not a spiritual one, more like a sudden, visual insight). In the school of the future, a person will complete tasks in exchange for recognition badges and spendable credits. Students will learn and work at their own pace and use their credits to pay for housing, food, private transportation and other items.




When my kid got to 20, I would still love them, and care and look after them, whether the worked or not. Now, some time ago I would be annoyed if they didn't work, but I began to think, do I get upset when my dog doesn't work ?

That's actually part of my spiel. Parents take care of their children because children are helpless. An adult who loses everything including the means to achieve (such as not having the right education for available jobs and no money nor credit worthiness to attend school, not to mention how they are going to live while attending school) falls into a situation where they are as helpless as a child. It is why education must be made free.

As such, I think the issue is that because some of us have to work, we hate those that sponge off the system because we cannot.

If on the other hand, we had all equal rights and no one had to work, then I reckon we wouldn't really feel upset that someone else wasn't working because we could stop and have a holiday when we wanted.

I believe that this freedom would really help to adjust our feelings towards each other.
As our technology continues to evolve it may become possible to choose to do nothing at all and rely completely on machines, allowing the choice of being something's pet human with nothing to worry about except what game to play that day, but until that day arrives we can't expect people to do nothing and still have crops growing. (metaphor - not being literal)

Just as a reminder too that points, or credits, expand through sharing in my system. So people can choose to not go to school and not work and still have a means of which to earn some spending power. But if they need assistance, then they must enroll in a free school to get it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Reversed Positions

Land

For a few months now, I've been going back and forth about my views on private land ownership. Private land ownership is the only way to maintain freedom by guaranteeing that people have a way out. Now I think that we need a mixture of private, public and community owned land. Community owned land could be used to provide the housing and food supply at a time when people are put out of work by automation.

School

And that brings me to education. Coming back to America has brought me face to face with the people living on welfare here. It is surreal to listen to some of their thinking patterns. I couldn't believe my ears! A single mother would turn down a job that paid $8,000 to $10,000 a month because she would lose her WIC. My gawd, that's a nightmare to hear.

So I've reversed my position on giving away housing and food for free. Now I think that if a person requires assistance that they must either work for it or to enroll in school and perform satisfactorily in a way that shows steady progress while in school. Because paying for education may be impossible due to low wages, I think school should be made completely free. Then only people enrolled in school would receive free housing, free food, free medical care and free daycare. They wouldn't necessarily have to study full-time. They could work part-time and study part-time. Fine. But no assistance at all unless they enroll.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thinking of Numbers

I've been going over it in my mind and I don't see any way that the system can be compromised by allowing individuals to transfer points amongst one another. The sole source of new points entering the system is through the returning of borrowed items. Allowing individuals to give away their points may even make the system more powerful by allowing a market to develop outside the organization, thus driving demand for the points.

Now I'm thinking about some abstract numbers, nothing concrete yet. Let's say I choose a budget of $10,000 monthly. This is to cover the monthly expenses, including salaries, utilities, maintenance, rent, etc. including some room for profit for growth and expansion. At $5 a month membership fee, 2,000 members are needed to keep the organization alive and healthy.

Is it realistic to assume 2,000 people will want to sign up for this service right off the bat? Well, if I look at Costco, they charge $35 a year for membership. They also make profit on what they sell. I'm trying to charge $60 and don't make any profit on what I sell. The higher membership fee may or may not be a problem for people.

The town I live in is made up of 50,000 people. That means 4% of the entire population would need to become a member at the time of opening if my opening goal is $10,000 in monthly revenue. That seems to be a pretty high number. Even at $5,000 in monthly revenue, it still requires 2% of the entire population to be members right off the bat. Therefore, either I'll need to raise prices even higher or have one hell of an advertising campaign that convinces a large number of people of the benefits of this service.

But perhaps even 4% is not too high of a number if some members of the local media became interested in the project. To get them interested, I think all I've got to do is visit the local radio, television and newspapers in person and explain the idea.

But before doing that, maybe just setup a table in or just outside the mall to conduct a survey. Before doing that, I might as well get some preliminary work out of the way. By that I mean price out some floor spaces around town.

Heck, I could sign up via pledge people who are interested and only collect payments upon signing up 2,000 pledges. If charging a $50 sign-up fee, then the $100,000 generated will likely be enough to cover the start up costs such as signs, shelves, furniture, decoration, contractors, construction workers, etc. Again, exact amount depending upon location, floor space, etc. Then the remaining $120,000 going toward staffing, rent, utilities and so on.

The cost of initial inventory is the risk factor. The plan revolves around members donating items in exchange for points, but we need initial items to give the points value. We could sell on consignment because the cost of items in points is the same as dollars; however, the rewarded bonus points for returning items means that over time people will have enough points to purchase items we bought on consignment but don't have the dollars to pay to the distributor. The cost of out right purchasing an initial inventory is going to be too high. That is the dilemma.

What a member could do is when they purchase something from the store, they donate it to our organization in exchange for points then immediately buy it back with the points we gave them and when they return the item to us (for someone else to use) we return their points to them plus any bonus points earned. But, I just don't see many people buying something brand new with real dollars, using it for a week or a month then giving it away. The only reason someone would do that is if they wanted to use something else we had valued around the same as the thing they bought, which is why we need an initial inventory.

This project has to start small, with low value items that have important functions but aren't used every day such as books and power drills. But the cost of salaries and floor space with the necessity to keep membership fees low to keep value high means more people are required to participate. The right balance has to be found. I can start my quest in finding that balance by pricing out floor space and conducting surveys to find out what kind of items people would like to buy/borrow in a system like this.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Model Improved

I've been thinking about this more over the whole week and am now considering the idea that instead of creating a new independent economy, to use the existing money economy but with an expanding money supply based on my model of rewarding sharing. So instead of an auction, the organization sells points. The cost for membership is $5 a month and every month every member receives 5 points. More points can be bought as well. So if a drill costs $60 and a member only has 40 points then they can pay $20 to purchase 20 points and buy the drill. Then if they return the drill, they will receive their 60 points back plus bonus points if returned within the bonus period. People who donate items will also receive points based on the value of their donation. So if someone donates a drill valued at $60 then they will receive 60 points for their donation. Points cannot be redeemed for dollars.

The start up costs can be recovered by requiring a sign up fee. For instance, $50 to join and $5 a month for membership. The $50 goes toward the purchase of equipment, shelving, signs, etc. and the $5 goes toward the monthly expenses. $5 might be too low. The exact amount will have to be determined when I get around to pricing retail space, utility costs, etc. Plus I need to survey people to see how much interest there is in this. I can do this at the mall and on college campuses. This could turn into a commercial enterprise.

I will drop the whole section on services and products being given away for free in exchange for points based on surveys. Nothing will be free, but the point supply will grow from sharing. I am still playing around with the idea of allowing points to be transferable from person to person.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Somebody Call Nobel. I've got it!

Gone is the need for the 2 days per month of mandatory service. LaborHours and resource points are also gone. The entire economic system relies only on reputation points. Restaurants and hospitals are free and workers are compensated based on the quality and quantity of their work through businesses they create themselves to give away their products and services. How is this possible? It all starts with a market place. Yes, seriously. Stay with me here. I explain it all.


TPU's Market Place
The TPU market place is where you will find all physical goods available for members to acquire using their reputation points. Every physical item has a price which must be paid in reputation points in order to be acquired. If a member acquires a reusable item and returns it within its return period in the same condition it was in when they acquired it and doesn't try to reacquire it for the duration of the item's reacquisition wait period then they will receive all their points back. If they return the item within its bonus period without reacquiring the item again during its reacquisition wait period then they will receive bonus points too.

Hypothetical Example
Item: BBQ Grill
Price: 400 points
Bonus return period: 3 days
Reacquisition wait period: 3 days
Bonus amount: 100 points
Return period: 7 days

In this example the item is a barbecue grill. A member acquires the barbecue grill for 400 points and if they return it within 7 days and don't reacquire it for at least 3 days then they will get all 400 points back, thus being able to borrow the item for free. If they bring it back within 3 days and wait 3 days before trying to acquire it again then they receive 100 bonus points in addition to the original 400 points they spent to acquire it, thus profiting 100 points simply for bringing the item back for someone else to use. If the member doesn't bring the barbecue grill back after 7 days then they will not receive any points for returning it, however they can still receive some points for it if they donate it through TPU's market place.

The Price Setting Process
Any member who donates a physical item to the TPU receives reputation points for it which they can use to acquire items in our market place. Every time a member donates an item to the TPU we auction the item for reputation points. Members use their reputation points to bid on who the first person to reserve the item will be. At the end of the auction, the item is reserved for the winning bidder. The winning bidder's points are subtracted by the amount that they bid and those points are copied to the donating member's account. All bidding starts at 100 points. If an item doesn't receive any bids by the close of the auction then the acquire price is set to 100 points and the donating member's account is credited 100 points as well.

When a member returns an item, the price of the item remains the same. The price of an item drops 10% for every week that it isn't acquired and its bonus amount is also readjusted accordingly, however an item cannot drop below 100 points. If items remain at 100 points for an excessive period of time (TPU staff discretion) then those items can be deemed overstock and recycled or given away to individuals or organizations not associated with the TPU. In the case of items that are badly damaged while in TPU possession or spoil (such as food items), they can be recycled (preferred) or otherwise disposed of regardless of their point value.

TPU's Products and Services Industry
In a fully automated society, industry should benefit all human beings equally. It is the TPU's mission to help us get there by providing incentive for members to create products and services that are given away to other members for free.

To create a TPU company, form a team with other members and register your business with the TPU. By registering your team, each member is able to invest their reputation points to the group. The group then uses these combined reputation points to purchase physical goods from TPU's market place so that they can use these goods to operate their business. For instance, if a member were to donate a digital x-ray machine then a team starting a hospital will have more purchasing power which helps their company outbid others competing for the same item.

When a TPU company acquires a reusable item from the reputation point market place and registers it with the TPU at the time of acquisition, the company will receive 100% of the item's cost back when the company returns it regardless of the item's return by date as long as it is in the same condition it was in when it was acquired. This is because we encourage members to create TPU companies by reducing the risk that they'll lose the reputation points they've invested.

TPU companies do not have the ability to sell items in the reputation point market place as a collective and members do not have the ability to transfer points directly to one another either. Therefore, the only way to earn points with a TPU company is by giving away products and/or services for free to satisfied members. When a member picks up a free product or uses a free service, they are given a survey to fill out. The feedback each customer gives in their survey determines how many points the company will receive. The more satisfied a customer is the more points the company is awarded. The more surveys members submit the more points the company gets. Negative feedback means the company doesn't receive any points.

Reputation points are automatically distributed to all the company's team members. When a customer receives a survey they will have to acknowledge that they've received it. If the customer doesn't complete the survey within the allotted time period then the TPU will automatically assume the customer was very pleased and the company will be awarded the full number of reputation points for the survey. All surveys are digital, very short and completely private. A company will never know who filled out which survey.

Any member can file a complaint about a TPU company even if they have never been a customer before by filing a report with the TPU's Member Support Division. Complaints about a TPU company will be investigated and can result in the company's registration being revoked and its team members temporarily suspended from starting new companies depending on the severity of the complaints. The temporary suspension period will be determined on a case by case basis and does not affect membership status.

Real Estate
Real estate such as land and buildings are donated to the TPU through the reputation points market place. Individual members and TPU companies can both bid on TPU owned real estate however nobody can ever own TPU real estate. All real estate always remain the property of the TPU. The individual or company that wins a real estate auction has the right to use the land or the buildings as is but must get approval from the TPU's Resource Management Division before it can make changes or improvements. An individual can only occupy 1 building at a time, therefore every member is only allowed to bid if they are not already in possession of TPU property or intends to move. If a member already in possession of TPU owned property intends to move then they may bid on another property with the condition that if they win the auction they must vacate the property they currently possess as soon as possible. The reputation points the member had used to possess the land are returned in full to the member and the real estate then becomes available for another member or TPU company to possess. TPU companies can possess more than 1 property at a time but must have prior approval from the TPU before bidding. All reputation points used to possess TPU real estate are returned as long as the property is in the same or better condition it was in when the member or TPU company took possession of it.

The price of unoccupied real estate drops 10% every month until it reaches the minimum price of 100 reputation points.

All TPU real estate can be reclaimed by the TPU when it is necessary even if it is being occupied. This might happen in the event the TPU needs it for making improvements, starting special projects, etc. The occupier will receive all their points back as long as the land or building, etc. is in the same or better condition it was in when it was occupied, as usual of course.

Membership
Every member receives a reputation card with their picture on it which links to their account. Much like a credit card. The cost for membership is $5 or $10 per month plus a sign-up fee which covers the cost of manufacturing the cards. The monthly membership fee covers operational costs for necessary goods and services the TPU cannot yet provide internally independent of the monetary system.

All members start with an initial 100 points and every month 100 points are added to every member's account who's membership fees are paid. If members fall behind on their membership dues their account freezes so that they cannot use the system until they make a payment. Their reputation points are also removed from their account at the rate of 10% of their account balance per month. 100% of a member's reputation points are removed if their account balance falls below 100 points in addition to being behind on membership fee payments. It is not possible for a member to have a negative balance. Once their account balance reaches zero, no more points are removed. As soon as a member pays their membership fee their account is immediately unfrozen, points cease to be removed and 100 reputation points are added to their account balance.

The membership fee cannot be waved so if anyone cannot afford the $5 or $10 fee then they should try asking someone else to cover the fees for them. The reason is that the fees are so low that it is necessary to have all members contributing toward the operation costs. The fees will be removed once the TPU is 100% independent of the monetary system.

Children 17 years old and younger can be included with a parent or guardian's account but must have their parent or guardian with them to receive services or otherwise participate in the system when using their parent or guardian's account. All persons 12 years old and older qualify for their own membership accounts and can participate in the system independent of their parent or guardian provided that they use their own account.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Growth Strategy for TPU's Library Based Economy and More

The TPU will keep a "wish list" of reusable items that members would like to borrow and member "sellers" post a list of items they would like to put in TPU's public domain. The members bid for those items with their reputation points. The winning bidder will then pick up the item from TPU's library. The seller's account is credited the number of reputation points from the winning bid and the winner's account is debited those reputation points as a "check out". When the borrower returns the item they will receive those points back and if he returns the item within a time period then he will receive bonus points, thus profiting within TPU's economy simply for borrowing an item and returning it.

Before the start of the bid, a seller has to donate the item to the TPU. This is to guarantee the item does indeed exist and is available. This also gives TPU staff time to add items to our tracking system. Only TPU members can bid and sell.

A borrower never has to return an item if they don't want to because there are no expiration dates. Reputation points are lost when this happens because as long as an item isn't returned, the borrower doesn't regain their reputation points. Once an item is returned, regardless of how long it's been, the points they lost by checking the item out will be returned in full as long as the item is in the same condition it was in when it was checked out. Many items may have restrictions on them mandating that only 1 of its type can be borrowed at a time by any particular person. For example, someone borrowing a computer might not be able to borrow another computer until they've returned the first computer.

Once an item has been returned to the library, it is made available for checkout to another member. The required reputation points will be the averaged value over all winning bids of its type and class.

Example:
Member 1 donates a computer for which the 1st borrower bid 200 reputation points.
Member 2 donates a computer of the same type and condition and the winning bid was 300 reputation points.
Member 3: 400 reputation points.
Member 4: 250 reputation points.
Member 5: 200 reputation points.

In this example we have 5 different computers that were donated to the TPU via our reputation point auction. These 5 computers are all roughly the same type and quality which puts them in the same classification for our records. The averaged winning bid over all 5 items in this classification is 270. Therefore, the cost to borrow a computer listed in this classification is 270 reputation points. This number changes for every new computer of the same classification acquired through our auction.

This sounds like a usable mathematical formula for pricing. Now the issue is coming up with a mathematical formula to determine how many bonus reputation points to award for returning items quickly. Plus, another mathematical formula for how many points to award members with for labor contributions.

There is a risk of some members borrowing items and then selling them for money since there is no return date or legal obligation to return items. We can reduce this risk by having a system that is more valuable in its use than the monetary value of selling individual items. For example, access to housing, schooling, higher quality restaurants, not to mention future travel and hotel stays are more valuable than selling a computer and then not being able to borrow another computer because the first one was never returned.

Of course, we will not have these great services in the beginning, yet we also won't have expensive items being donated in the very beginning either. The economy will start out small, acquiring low cost items like clothing, toys and used books and it will grow from there as people begin to trust the system through using it.

One idea I am thinking about at the moment for services and non-reusable items, such as tomatoes and electricity, is to list needed TPU services which members can register to fulfill by setting up businesses. These businesses could list their own service needs and other members could register their businesses with us to meet the needs of the businesses fulfilling the needs of the TPU.

Example:
1. TPU lists that we need a restaurant to provide 3 meals a day for all members and 2 of their guests.
2. Members form businesses to provide the restaurant services and register their businesses with the TPU.
3. The businesses list their needs for services to support them such as providers of tomatoes and chickens.
4. Farmers see the requests, businesses to provide the services needed to support the restaurants and register their businesses with the TPU.

Registering a business with the TPU is important because it is the only way to earn resource pointsResource points determine levels of control over non-reusable resources and public domain items such as vacant land and commercial buildings. Individuals have an option of doing business in either the monetary economy or the TPU economy so it is TPU's job to ensure that creating a business within the TPU is more rewarding than setting up a business outside the TPU. One benefit of having a business inside the TPU is that they're easier to setup by using TPU resources instead of having to borrow money or otherwise make a large investment outside the TPU. One advantage of starting a TPU business is gaining the power and responsibility to control resource use.

Every member earns labor points by doing work for the TPU. 1 labor point equals 1 hour of human labor. Since 2 days a month (or 24 hours total) of volunteer work is required for membership anyways, all members automatically earn enough labor points to access TPU's basic services. Working extra hours earns a member extra labor points. Unused labor points can be traded with other members. Access to services are restricted by the percentage of TPU resources required to provide those services. The more resources a service requires, the less frequently members are able to use them. We use labor points to divide access to services. The number of labor points in the system are fixed by the number of hours worked so it is impossible to grow labor points in the system except by members choosing to work extra hours.

For labor points to be considered unused, a member has to first not use a basic service. For instance, since every member automatically receives 3 meals a day for them self and 2 guests for the whole month and 24 hours a month of work is required for membership, then each meal in a 31 day month is worth 0.086 hours. If a member didn't use the restaurant for a whole week then they will have accumulated 5.419 of unused labor points. Those labor points can be given away or traded with another member or used to access higher level services which require more labor and/or other resources to provide. The reason only unused labor can be traded and not all labor points is to guarantee that every member always has food to eat. A member cannot starve due to a bad decision. Remember it takes resources to give resources so it is physically impossible to give away resources that have already been consumed no matter how hungry a person is. If a cup of rice doesn't exist in the physical world then it doesn't exist. Therefore, only unused labor points can be distributed.

Finally, just like resources have a period where they expire (oranges rot, etc.), labor points expire too. All unused labor points will expire on a quarterly schedule. I understand this will cause seasonal market fluctuation.

Of course, this is all still a work in progress. I'm sure it will be improved.