The Alternative UK Manifestos. 9: Chris Cook - From Peer To Here
Number nine in our Alternative UK Manifesto series - and it's from one of the great celebrants of community power that we know, Chris Cook of the Nordic Enterprise Trust. Chris has taken his insights about energy, land and capital, and extended it across a whole range of policy areas.
Chris Cook: From Peer to Here
Alternative Approach - the Policy makes the Party
Alternative policies are reality-based. We start with the services we all need and would receive in any civilised society – housing/shelter, warmth, care, health, education – and work out how best to mobilise the resources necessary to provide those services.
Parties will no longer make policy in accordance with a distorted ideology: the policy will make the Party or movement.
Alternative Economics – at what Cost?
Conventional economics is based upon an organising principle of least £ cost decisions. Alternative economic decisions will be based on least resource cost and least human cost decisions.
Resource cost is objective, since it is fundamentally based on energy cost. Human cost is subjective - that is, we know it when we see it - and this requires Alternative forms of governance to implement.
Alternative Housing – Peer to Here & Housing as a Service
Q: If we have land, resources and people sufficient to create new housing, why do we need credit from government or banks to finance it? A. We don't.
We can create housing as a service, through sharing the value of land use - shared, that is, between investors in land, and providers of land development and management services. The key innovation - which is how UK sovereigns funded themselves for centuries - is that investment will come from prepayment for land use at a discount, probably by pension investors.
These "land-use credits", as I call them, are not Peer to Peer – they are Peer to Here.
Alternative Energy – a Natural Grid
No one uses raw oil, gas or electricity as a commodity: we all use heat/cooling, light, mobility, electromagnetic energy (communications) and power as a service.
If we apply the Danish organising principle of 'least resource cost' we minimise the use of fossil fuels for any given use of energy as a service. The outcome is a Natural Grid, based upon cross-national-border flows - rather than a dysfunctional National Grid within UK borders, perpetually in danger of the lights going out.
How to we achieve this? Simply apply a levy on fossil fuel use, and on the use of the renewable energy commons. Then deploy the resulting fund to roll out massive investment in renewable energy (MegaWatts) and energy efficiency (NegaWatts).
Cheaper energy for all, then? The last thing we need is cheap energy, since this is wasted on a massive scale. The Alternative approach is to keep the price high, while distributing an Energy Dividend to everyone as of right, and giving people the means to pay.
Alternative Care – a Care for Equity Swap?
Baby Boomers have become land-rich (thanks largely to a bank credit boom) but care-poor. Meanwhile the younger generations are land-poor but care-rich.
Why not put a care levy on the value of land use, and pool the proceeds into a Care Pool fund, while paying a Land Dividend of "Peer to Here" credits to everyone? Renters could use them to pay their rent - and owners could exchange them for care for themselves, or their property.
Alternative Health & Education – Cooperatives of Cooperatives
Health and education services will be provided by networked Co-ops of health and education professionals. They will use buildings and facilities funded by pension investment, with costs shared across the population as health & education levies on earned income.
We need banking - but we don't need banks. Clubs/Associations of businesses and freelancers could extend credit to customers, subject to mutual credit assurance through a Guarantee Society. Accounting and risk management are provided by service-providers-formerly-known-as-banks. The outcome is essentially a credit card owned by producers and consumers - not the banks.
Alternative Investment – Peer to Peer & Peer to Here
Capital Partner investors who are up for taking on development risk may invest in creating new productive assets and share in the new value created. Risk averse investors, on the other hand, may simply invest at a discount in future production or revenues from the new productive assets created. They are the embodiment of "Peer to Here".
Alternative Transport – Platform Cooperatives
Transport manufacturers will no longer sell cars, trains, vessels or planes: they will supply transport as a service in partnership with energy suppliers, in exchange for a share in the revenues generated.
The balance of the revenues will pay a cooperative consortium of service providers [what has often been described as a "progressive Uber" or "platform cooperativism" - Ed.]. The necessary investment in transport will come from discounted and prepaid transport revenues.
Competition in a service economy is no longer for money but for quality of service, with service providers co-operating on costs, particularly resource costs.
The economic outcome is compelling, because the more expensive finite resources become the more profitable it is to save them.
Finally, since service providers do not own expensive assets or take market price risk or credit risk - as do middlemen, such as the Big Six UK energy companies – then the result is service providers who will out-compete the middlemen. This is why the smarter companies are already making the transition.