With Liberty and Dividends for All

How to Save Our Middle Class When Jobs Don't Pay Enough

Peter Barnes (Author)

Publication date: 08/04/2014

With Liberty and Dividends for All

Barnes proposes a simple market-based way to provide supplemental income to all Americans.

  • New analysis: Barnes explains why the plight of our middle class is now so dire that conventional policies will no longer save it.
  • New solution: Barnes proposes a simple market-based way to provide supplemental income to all Americans.

Economic inequality has become like the weather: everyone talks about it, but nobody knows what to do about it. Working Assets cofounder Peter Barnes has a plan: pay equal dividends to everyone from wealth we own together.

Barnes argues that, thanks to automation, globalization, and winner-take-all capitalism, there will never again be enough high-paying jobs to sustain a large middle class. The only hope lies in nonlabor income-that is, in jobs plus something more. Building on our Declaration of Independence, an essay by Thomas Paine, and a thirty-year-old program in Alaska, Barnes proposes paying monthly dividends to every American. This supplemental income would come from assets we hold in common-the atmosphere, the natural world, our monetary system, and more. Such dividends would not only keep our economy humming but also make it unprofitable to abuse nature.

Barnes's proposal bypasses the current gridlock between left and right; once set up, the dividend system is purely market based. This work is a truly visionary yet eminently practical solution to a seemingly intractable problem.

Read more and meet author below



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More About This Product

Overview

Barnes proposes a simple market-based way to provide supplemental income to all Americans.

  • New analysis: Barnes explains why the plight of our middle class is now so dire that conventional policies will no longer save it.
  • New solution: Barnes proposes a simple market-based way to provide supplemental income to all Americans.

Economic inequality has become like the weather: everyone talks about it, but nobody knows what to do about it. Working Assets cofounder Peter Barnes has a plan: pay equal dividends to everyone from wealth we own together.

Barnes argues that, thanks to automation, globalization, and winner-take-all capitalism, there will never again be enough high-paying jobs to sustain a large middle class. The only hope lies in nonlabor income-that is, in jobs plus something more. Building on our Declaration of Independence, an essay by Thomas Paine, and a thirty-year-old program in Alaska, Barnes proposes paying monthly dividends to every American. This supplemental income would come from assets we hold in common-the atmosphere, the natural world, our monetary system, and more. Such dividends would not only keep our economy humming but also make it unprofitable to abuse nature.

Barnes's proposal bypasses the current gridlock between left and right; once set up, the dividend system is purely market based. This work is a truly visionary yet eminently practical solution to a seemingly intractable problem.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Peter Barnes

Peter Barnes is cofounder and former president of Working Assets Long Distance. In 1995 he was named Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California. He is the author of Who Owns the Sky? and Pawns: The Plight of the Citizen-Soldier, and has written for Newsweek, The New Republic, The New York Times, and many other publications.

To learn more about Peter and his writing, visit him online here

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Table of Contents

1. A Simple Idea

2. The Tragedy of Our Middle Class

3. Fix the System, Not the Symptoms

4. Extracted Rent

5. Virtuous Rent

6. The Alaska Model

7. Dividends for All

8. Carbon Trading: A Cautionary Tale

9. From Here to the Adjacent Possible

Join the Discussion

Appendix: The Dividend Potential of Co-Owned Wealth

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Endorsements

"Enormously thoughtful, insightful, and valuable."

-Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and author of Aftershock and Beyond Outrage

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