L e v e l - 7

Tools For A New Political Economy

Common Property Shares

The concept of community-centric common property shares is intended to address the following issues:

  • Establish a record keeping and trading unit for common ownership of property at all levels of abstraction (see OSI representation in L7 Property Position).
  • Help migrate away from fiat money and leveraged debt over time, creating semi-fungible backing for currency.
  • Enhance collective consciousness and responsibility for all commonly held resources.

Here is a summary of the basic idea….

Right now when we stand in almost any location - populated or not - and look around, most of what we see are things that other people individually own, or things that corporation own. Cars, buildings, businesses, parks, forests, pastures and so on. But what if, instead, when we looked around at the same things, we felt a sense of communal ownership? And what if we knew - in a calculable, easily estimable and indeed semi-fungible way - the precise portion of that collective ownership that we had? And what if, just as common shares accomplish in business enterprises today, those shares also represented a voting right in how that property is managed, utilized, safeguarded and so forth? That is what common property shares are meant to accomplish.

Of course this relationship with public assets is already somewhat true regarding things like National Parks, the BLM, the Interstate Highway system, but here the relationship is abstracted by highly centralized representative democracy, a fairly mysterious and opaque allocation of tax dollars, and a subjective disconnect from complex and often bureaucratic management processes for publicly held resources. With common property shares there is an additional layer of direct control over such such resources - that is, in addition to citizens councils, daily direct democracy, and other Level 7
democratic reforms outlined here. But how does this work?

It’s fairly simple really. There would be a universal data repository - an accounting and tracking system - of all commonly held assets that acts as the backing for currency. So, when we look around us we will see the actual backing for the currency we use in our economic transactions. If those assets are maintained, the value of our currency is likewise maintained; and if those assets are depleted or destroyed, the value of our currency is reduced and/or our shares are reduced. Of course, there would need to be a carefully balanced proportionality between local, national and international currency valuation and local, national and international common ownership systems; we would want to diffuse (or aggregate) the backing variability as much as possible to create stability, while still encouraging localized contributions to the whole. Some universal percentage of the common property shares would therefore be allocated to district, state and national common repositories, as distinct from community allocations. In this way, the backing for currency is as diffused as the issuance of currency.

Now we need to ask: what constitutes an asset? And this is where things get interesting, because, using concepts inherent to
holistic valuation in an L7 property position, what a community creates or shepherds as “valuable” can correlate with any of the dimensions of Integral Lifework - across all layers of OSI abstraction, and across all scopes and arenas of social good. In this way, a community can increase its total common property shares, and the individual holdings of property shares among community members. From community to community the emphasis may vary, but the framework is shared across all communities (which is what makes the community assets semi-fungible after all). In many ways, these common property shares are a concrete representation of political obligation or collective agreement around civic responsibility and engagement.

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