In the months since our book-writing crowdfunder (thanks a million to everyone who donated!), I've been working hard on the book's central chapter: how a worldwide basic income could be funded.
We've researched this before and found a raft of potential money sources. Our model is based on the global commons: the idea that there are spaces and systems in the world that we all own together (or at least we should own them).
At the moment, we don't take our shared ownership seriously, which is a huge missed opportunity to both protect our commons and to raise money from it. Multinational corporations and global elites are making hefty use of these shared spaces, and we're letting them do it for free. Instead we propose that they pay fees for this use, and the money raised is shared out among the people of the world as a dividend from our common property.
Our earlier research suggested that this could raise enough to pay a basic income of at least $30 a month to every adult and child in the world. We were delighted with that, but now I'm looking into it more deeply I'm getting really excited as I'm finding that a lot more could be raised... Of course the total amount depends on many factors.
Firstly, which global commons are covered by these charges? The atmosphere, international airspace and international waters are obvious global commons, and there are several ways to charge for over-use of these (an international carbon charge for example, as discussed in this paper). A small global ground rent for privatised urban land is another commons charge that could raise a lot. These commons are all naturally-occurring spaces that are seen by many as 'the common heritage of humankind'.
Social systems and assets such as the banking system and the internet have also been created and supported by us all collectively, and can be seen as global commons. A tiny transaction fee on commercial bank transfers, and an equivalent of 'business rates' for online retail businesses could both raise big money for the people of the world.
From these commons and more, many trillions of dollars are available. But how much should we take for the common pot? I've aimed to set charge rates that are moderate (not going to crash the world economy), fair (relative to how much of the money being made is really coming from the commons) and progressive (taking much more from those with the most, and little or nothing from those with the least). When these principles are applied, the actual rates for each commons are very different. This complexity has generated many happy hours building complicated spreadsheets to work it all out.
From this research, I've managed to put new, big, exciting numbers on how much we could raise from each commons, and how much could therefore be paid to each person each month as worldwide basic income. It's too soon to spill the beans yet - first I need experts much smarter than me to comb through the numbers and make sure it all makes sense. But the final amount of worldwide basic income should be really good.
Not 'living a flash lifestyle in the Global North' kind of good, obviously - that probably wouldn't be possible within safe climate limits anyway. But good enough to hopefully end extreme poverty forever. And good enough to bite down hard on global inequality too. It's enough that I'd be excited to receive it, especially given that my household (of two adults and two kids) would get four lots of it. But for now you'll have to trust me on this. All will be revealed when the time is right.
For now I've got a lot more research to do. The next chapters to work on are who would govern and run the worldwide basic income, and plotting some routes to achieving this giant change. I also need an update on how to ID every person in the world, and the latest technologies for transferring out money. There's lots to learn and lots to write. I'll try to keep you posted.