What are shared benefits?
Our society, that is the people who make up and have built our society, you, me, everyone, though most of the credit goes to the last thousand generations of people, have given us a wonderful world. It is a world that has changed so much and yet preserves the best of the old, our family units and trust between people who do not know each other. It has given us the freedom from most forms of violence, free markets, freedom of choice, freedom to call a piece of land home through property rights and even the freedom to complain.
And people love to complain and get upset, people think the world is getting worse, and who can blame them if they listen to the news it feels worse, but that is only because bad news is newsworthy and good news is boring. The internet seems like it is designed to reinforce whatever you believe, whether it is the world was a better place in the past or something as strange as the world being a happy, joyful place where wonderful things happen. There are tribes of people who engage in online wars of hate against each other about how the other side is making the world worse, whilst not recognizing that the online wars they are engaged in are so much less bloody than the real ones which was how we use to decide disagreements, nevertheless it is undeniable they do generate an immediate and lingering feeling in people that we are more divided than ever.
There is a definite group of people who regard rights as something that are done to them rather than something that is there to protect them. Who can blame them, when it feels like the only people who have rights are those who can afford them, or those who are represented by clever lawyers who twist common sense into abuse. There is history in that feeling, the first right was the right to charge interest on loans and that was definitely not a right that was meant to help the ordinary peasant, it was a right to make the Lord of the manor more powerful. People react against the sense that we are born with rights that come from within, the idea that individuals are the source of rights seems like greed to some people, as oppose to what they actually are, the shared benefits that a mature society gives us where people mind their own business and let other people be who they are and what they are meant to be.
However rights do protect the innocent, they have been successful in restraining the power of government to intervene in people's lives, not always but most of the time. They provide a focus for public debate which keeps people involved in what is happening in society, however they do not give people a shared sense of what is good about our world. Rights implies a right to enforce rights with violence, otherwise they do not mean anything other than a list of aspirations, and when governments enforce the rights it can feel like something is being done to the people.
I prefer the idea of shared benefits, I love the idea of there being shared benefits of not having to fight every non-related male who I meet, a place where I get to live a life of my choosing, where other people's business are not my concern, I get to do as I wish as long as I do not harm others and I love that I did not have to earn them. I am grateful for the people who gave their lives in wars for my freedom, those who worked through the industrial revolution so that my life is safe, the scientists and inventors who created every item in my house, the companies that made them. It is thanks to the progress in our societies that we have rights today, a point which seems to be missed in the rights discussion that upsets people, people talk about right as if they were always there and we were just too stupid to realize, however they were not always there, they were made with blood and out of our collective imagination. I find that is something that I am proud of, that they were not dictated to us, rather we created them out of our own nature.
Shared benefits implies for me something that has been worked for and will continue to be worked for, protected, reexplained and cherished. They have been built over centuries through fierce arguments, a shared set of principles that should be clearly understood not loss in the language of lawyers, rather they should be clearly stated as the freedom to live freely from force, be it physical, social, economic or other, and implied in that is that you are not free to force others. Secondary, that the strong have a duty of care to those who are weaker which is proportional to their relative strength, as such an individual control over their own lives should be maximized where ever possible and practical, though that is more a guideline for how governments should act in regard to their citizens, they should at least try and increase people's control over their own lives. Third, openness is always preferable to secrets, if it is in public it is public, private is private, so that means open book business, complete freedom of information and private lives that are private.
And how should these benefits be enforced, government do currently have a role for the moment when they limit themselves to those actions taken on behalf of society as a whole, and individuals should have to ability to go to an independent adjudicator in real time to uphold their shared benefits in a quick, low cost way, there no reason that it is not possible with modern technology and with enforcement through the open book banking systems especially in a world with universal basic income where everyone has money and a stake in keeping it. However the real guardians are the people when they have a shared sense of the benefits which enrich all our lives that they have created themselves, and not something that has been imposed upon them from the top down.