Frequently Asked Questions
Q 1: Who would do dirty and heavy work when you can live on basic income?
A: There is an economic motivation to do the work. Provided others refuse to do it you can claim a high salary and let your basic income accumulate untouched on your basic account. If the unattractive work is needed as a society protection it will be paid by the commons in addition, which makes two parallel streams of salary. That is the way the solidar makes a free market even for work, ruled by supply and demand.
Q 2: Wouldn´t people get lazy when they can live on their basic income?
A: Some would surely be lazy until they get bored, and some would need a long time to rest and recover. And why shouldn´t they? Industriousness is not a purpose of its own - especially not today when we need to reduce our over-consumption in the western world. Instead of increasing our GNP we have to reduce it! That is one of the most important ways to save the climate. All of us in the west need a decreasing turnover to save the life on Earth. That could be realized in a voluntary way because of the possibility to save basic income for a dream.
Q 3: What is money?
A: It depends on the monetary system you use. Issued as neutral means of exchange, for example, money is a tool for multiple exchanges of goods and services - provided that the parts agree about using it as a means of exchange. Money is a mental construction that works if you share it with others. It is a question of agreement and trust. The money we use today is not neutral. It is hired by the same hired money through the interest system we use. Our monetary system results in a global mal-distribution and increasing numbers of economic losers. It stimulates competition, anxiety, greed and addiction to the power of money. It is even a source of war and starvation, as it requires exponentially growing consumption which is impossible on a planet with limited natural resources.
Q 4: Shouldn´t the solidar be backed by some stable value, gold for example.
A: A solidar experiment will show that there is already a backing. As the time-limited solidar enters the market as payment, it is backed by real value every time it is used. It is backed by the goods or services represented by the price. Sold real value is the security of the solidar, at any time, according to agreements between buyer and seller. Money is money only if it is regarded as money by a group of people. In case it works as a means of exchange.
Q 5: The system looks like Utopia. Can it be introduced today?
A: Building Utopia takes time. It has to be prepared in time, and “in time” is now according to convergent ecological statistics. Even in Sweden people move from their homes in poor regions where the shop, the school and the health-care is gone. Our former welfare tends to be cut down through the global monetary liberalization if we do not change the system in time. In poor areas the solidar could be introduced by an NGO, or by a municipality where the common sector is threatened. Using solidars doesn´t need any monetary support by the state or municipality. People can build their local solidar commons themselves according to local votes for introducing basic income for the commons in their region.
Q 6: Wouldn´t there be too much money for children getting lifetime basic income from birth?
A: The question has to be answered by those who it concerns. Child basic income can be available for the custodians until the day of maturity of their youngsters, for example. That would replace the tax based child-allowance of today and other commons such as school, kindergarten and health care for children.
Q 7: What about people in dry and infertile regions? Would they be poor forever.
A: Even in dry areas creative people can improve their living conditions when they can import and export. In desert areas they could cooperate in international projects for water supply and sun-cell plants for electricity, even for export if they use interest-free and convertible means of exchange that does require loans. Knowledge is a renewable resource, for example in Japan. The Japanese people have little soil but much industry, and India has an increasing number of IT-experts.
Q 8: How is high-tech financed in an economy based on instalments instead of loans?
A: the system also allows big scale and expensive production, provided it is much needed. In case, many would contribute to it. Sun-cell plants in deserts can be a realistic solution if the interest-free and convertible solidar is used. Solidar coops could be interested, for example in supporting renewable-energy projects. But the system has to be introduced in a fertile region at first, as the currency is based on soil fertility and human creativity. Out from that platform you can also support other regions.
Q 9: Wouldn´t people buy a lot of things when they get basic income?
A: At first they surely would buy what they longed for, but that is a minor problem compared with the giant sums now pumped into weapons and drugs industry and big projects like water reservoirs to secure water supply and electricity for those who can afford it. As long as the ultimate aim of “economy” is earning money, the necessities for life are taken away from the poor. Instead of sucking out the already poor through built-in interest-on-interest in the bank system we could change over to renewable resources like wind-, wave- and solar energy and running fresh water. Even health and education are renewable recourses, and so is peace of mind. The economic security enabled by basic income and a current distribution of wealth would cure any society from fear and hostility.
Q 10: How do you build a house with the help of the time-limited solidars?
A: You could pay the costs with streams of instalments during the construction. You could also form a group to buy the houses of each other, one after the other. Flats and houses would be leased until they are fully paid. All expensive things would be gradually paid at the same rate as the money reduction on the trade accounts in the region. That makes a maximum use of your income on your trade account.
Q 11: How could I start a company with solidars?
A: You could start softly with saved basic income if you want an enterprise of your own. In case you would bye your equipment by leasing. !!!A If you want to be a part owner you would pay your shares gradually and get returns gradually when the company has a surplus to avoid on its trade accounts. You would not take any risk by supporting a company that way. Solidar companies will become coops without debts. The part owners who support the companies would get returns when the product is enough asked for. Returns are given when there is a surplus in the coop after the costs are paid. No profit can be accumulated in such coops, because they only have trade accounts. You could even let your children or friends inherit your shares without risk of speculation, because these shares always represent real value. For the same reason you could sell yourshares without risk for speculation. There are no debt bubbles in a system without debts.
Q 12: How could you use solidars if you work for a foreign company?
A: The solidar is convertible, so you can use solidars when the seller wants solidars, and you can use the old currency when the seller wants the old money. That will be possible because of the speculation-proof way of exchanging solidars. It is exchanged within the limits of the currency balance of the region. When you use the old money you have to pay the tax as usual. !!!A: The solidar would serve the regional real market parallel to the old money as long as the old interest money exists. Once prepared and successfully tried the solidar will serve as an economic- ecological civil defence – a lifeboat. It would spread in a financial crisis.
Q 13: Couldn´t the solidar be emitted by the state?
A: Historical experiments with interest-free money have provoked the bank system, which is sort of a state in the state, mightier than many nations. If a state is threatened by the global bank system there would be risk for repression. But no bank would hinder our common survival on earth. That can only be done with small-scale, down-to-earth reforms, securing the life-conditions of all, including the life and health of the most money-rich and mighty. The global climate concerns everyone.
Q 14: Wouldn´t people speculate in land and water instead of money?
A: They already do. As long as the circulating credit money is used, it will be used for speculation in all the elements except the fire - the sunshine - that nobody can grasp.
The social reformer Silvio Gesell suggested municipalities to buy private land and let the former owners lease it, letting the tenancies be hereditary. Such a land reform would not change the life of the former landowners, except that they could not sell land anymore. !!!A The proposal by Silvio Gesell is political. But it could be democratically possible in a solidar region, as a solidar region would be free from the capital power now steering most political decisions. You might see it as a peaceful change-over to a sustainable world.
Q 15: Isn´t the system too technical? Wouldn´t we get trapped into a collective march if all get the same basic income and the same rate of solidar reduction? It sounds boring.
A: We would not get a collective march, on the contrary. Compare with the interest-system of today, where the poor are eliminated by credits yielding interest and economic growth, heading for antagonism, hunger, illness and starvation. Instead of the artificial debts of today, there would be an end of the automatic mal-distribution of wealth. A new freedom to choose ones work would occur because of the economic security of the life-long and continuous basic income. A continuously distributing system is a system of household and peace. You can get rich if you want, but getting rich will be less attractive in a system that does not require losers. Some would say that the solidar system is right-twisted because of the personal freedom it gives. Others would say it is left-twisted because of its economic security. But it is neither right nor left, it is nature-congruent. Like the sunshine is spreading its life-energy to everyone - partly saved and spread for a time by the oceans - the solidar would distribute good life conditions to every land and group where people chose it, provided that electricity and electronic equipment is available. The could be a mission of the rich.
Q 16: How could work give social status when there is no competition?
A: Other things will give status in a system that does not create scarcity. Altruism and meaningful work would be more appreciated than earning money, for example, and there would be better chances to overcome egoism, greed and fear in a system that does not stimulate such weaknesses. Instead of boasting of things and titles you could do a meaningful work that you really like.
Q 17: If you get a too big sum on your trade account, couldn´t you transfer parts of it to the trade accounts of your friends? And couldn´t they help you to save your solidars by sending it back little by little to your trade account?
A: Gifts are just good, and if you want to make personal use of a too big sum you have to hurry. That would not be easy. And - from where should the big sum come? !!!A Saving through transfers between different trade accounts is impossible because there is a date of expire on the solidars from the moment it is used. There wouldn´t be any risk for destructive money-power, because no capital concentration would occur in a dept-free system where the money dies with its owner.
Q 18: It is exciting to gamble on the Market. Where is the excitement here?
A: The new possibilities are exciting enough. There is a positive excitement in taking initiatives like starting an enterprise and exploring new fields of investigation or to use ones creativity in other ways. You could choose your work more freely and take more initiatives and challenges when you have the economic security of the basic income.
Q 19: What about inheritance?
A: Everything except money could be inherited. Inheriting money is replaced by the lifetime basic income. When a solidar user dies, his solidars will die with him. That is a way to maintain the balance of the system. But you could inherit a part of a company. That is real value, because there are no debts in the system.
Q 20: What would happen in a solidar region if the global information system collapses?
A: That would be a giant crash, even for the banks. But the knowledge how to rebuild the system cannot collapse. The information technology would surely be restored, and the solidar system would surely be more asked for after such a crash. Everyone would appreciate the security of the basic income after such a chock.
Q 21: What happens if we have no money until the global system is rebuilt?
A: That would be a challenge. But if we are mentally prepared at the time - maybe by using paper notes of short duration - we could wake up and regard economy as household, a way to cultivate, care, share, and preserve - even without money. That would be the beginning of an era of sharing.
Åsa Brandberg, Sweden,