Monday, August 3, 2015

Let’s Talk About . . . Retirement, IV: Capital Homesteading

Stop me if you’ve heard this.  On second thought, don’t stop me.  Just read it, and Do Something to get the ball rolling.  We’ve found that far too many people are extraordinarily shy about letting others in on a good thing — even if it really is a case of “the more, the merrier.”  Capital Homesteading is one of those things.  It works better the more owners of capital you have, just as in a labor-centric economy, things work better if more people can and do work.

Last week we looked at the problem of retirement.  The picture, frankly, is pretty grim.  The solution, however, seems obvious: abolish retirement.

Everybody worked.
Now, hold on.  Don’t get excited.  Just stop and think for a moment just how artificial this whole “retirement” shtick is.  Throughout most of history, you worked at whatever it was you had to or wanted to work at your entire life.  You might slow down a bit as you got older, but that’s just the way things are.  You might even start taking a lot of time to rest, but it was usually just a temporary thing, unless you really couldn’t do anything useful.  In a labor-centric economy, human labor is so valuable that every little bit helps, and some people even steal the labor of others by enslaving them.

That actually doesn’t apply in a capital-intensive economy.  You can continue to be productive even if you can’t get out of bed just by owning productive capital.  You can be productive your entire life without changing anything, so why pick a point at which you say, “Today I am retiring, and will never do a productive thing for the rest of my life.  I put my time in, and I’ve earned the right not to be productive.”

Really?  Since when?  Who made up that rule?  In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God gave humanity one day in every seven to rest.  He didn’t say anything about working for 65 years, then resting until you die.

The only trouble with being a capital owner and producing that way instead of with labor alone, however, is that these days fewer and fewer people have the opportunity and means to purchase the capital that is doing most of the productive work.  That means people are stuck in meaningless, unproductive “jobs” just to get income, until they can retire and be unproductive without a “job.”

A detour on the highway of life.
That’s why we recommend a “Capital Homestead Act” to help get rid of the “jobs-jobs-jobs” mentality.  We’ve gone into it many times on this blog, so we’ll just give a very brief recap.

Capital Homesteading would be a national economic policy based on the binary growth model.  It is designed to lift barriers in the present financial and economic system and universalize access to the means of acquiring and possessing capital assets.

A Capital Homestead Act would allow every child, woman, and man to accumulate in a tax-sheltered Capital Homestead Account, a target level of assets sufficient to generate an adequate and secure income for that person without requiring the use of existing pools of savings or reductions in current levels of consumption.

By conservative estimates, it should be possible over an average lifetime to acquire enough assets on credit to enable someone to have an adequate and secure income without engaging in fake, “created” work doing unproductive things just to generate income.


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