Earned Minimum Income (EMI): The Holy Grail Of Poverty Alleviation?
Some time ago we introduced a brand new concept of EMI as a zero-cost alternative to the $3 Trillion behemoth that UBI will be to American taxpayers. Here's a brief follow up.
What Makes EMI Potentially Possible?
Earned Minimum Income (EMI) as defined summarily "generates income that's above the poverty threshold without having to invest any resources whether financial or vocational."
Generating enough funds to make basic income available to everyone without any additional tax burden seems like an impossibility. But two unprecedented unique & novel developments in the evolution of the 21st century economics may make it possible.
FIRST, The Changing 21st Century Dynamics Of Economy: From Scarcity To Abundance
"Scarce resource" and "needs far outweigh haves," may have been the foundational principles of conventional economics, but we look at the world GDP over the last two millennia, and we see a sharp transition from scarcity to abundance as we embark into the 21st century.
To complement the exponentially growing GDP, the world now has over a quadrillion worth of assets and trillions of it sitting on the sidelines as cash, waiting to be invested. We are indeed living in abundance.
The 21st century economics is no more about scarce resources. It's about abundance.
Yet, poverty still exists, and the wealth gap still keeps growing.
The problem is one of harvesting the resources, monetizing the resources, creating liquidity of the assets and redistributing them.
This can be best done by equitable and incentivized sharing of assets seamlessly between those who "have" with those who "need."
That brings us to the next unique development of the 21st century.
SECOND, Transitioning From Individualism To Tech-Enabled Sharing (Sharonomics)
The advent of 21st century saw a massive boost in technology-enabled sharing.
As menial thing as social media sharing, liking, or voting may carry a value that builds influence, which can be monetized.
In fact, that's where all the billions that Facebook, Youtube, Twitter et al make - "the influence of users of their platform." Sharing must be rewarding us with some level of gratification; otherwise we wouldn't be doing it.
« To Share Is Human, To Expect Nothing In Return Is Divine »
If that wasn't the case, 1.52 billion of us wouldn't be sharing stuff on Facebook, and over 4 million of the shared stuff wouldn't be rewarded with "likes" every minute. Who wouldn't want his/her sharing be reciprocated?
Most legacy systems appropriate all the monetary gains of sharing.
What if the legacy systems shared those billions with the influencers, value creators instead of appropriating all of it?
How can that sharing be made equitable, incentivized, seamless and autonomous?
Decentralized ledger technology (DLT) was our answer. With the advent of DLT, decentralized, seamless, equitable and incentivized sharing of assets between peers by securely connecting those who "HAVE" with those who "NEED became possible.
But DLT / blockchain technology has been taking a lot of flak in recent time. Critics are calling it "crappy," "a big lie," "least useful" and "a bad vision for the future." So we did a reality check -
We concluded that most criticism is coming from expectations from a 2nd generation blockchain (Ethereum) to deliver all the promises of future generations.
It's like expecting second generation computers of 1960s to do the AI of fifth generation computers of today.
It Takes Two To Tango: Abundance + Sharonomics
The current socioeconomic and technology trends clearly establish that:
i) unprecedented wealth is being created, but underutilized by the current global economy, and,
ii) decentralized, equitable, incentivized and seamless sharing of assets between peers who "HAVE" with those who "NEED" is socially and technologically possible.
Exploiting the two together by taking the influence of economic abundance, and complementing it with the technological power of Sharonomics (decentralized, autonomous, seamless, equitable and incentivized sharing), may result in
- harvesting that abundance,
- monetizing it to enable liquidity, and
- spreading it across the impoverished indiscriminately.
That's exactly what two of the innovations we discuss here do.
One, we call ZeroCash, shares the influence (monetized/tokenized assets) of peers to raise funds for those who need it without risking any cash.
Another, is AlgoShare, seamlessly shares ever-profiting algorithms to democratize the multi-trillion algo-trading industry and disseminate the profits to the participants as EMI (Earned Minimum Income).
EMI: Tango Of The Two Techs
The self-sustaining concept of EMI is potentially possible at zero cost to taxpayers because of the two disruptive techs: ZeroCash and AlgoShare.
ZeroCash is defined as decentralized, incentivized and equitable sharing and monetization of influence of the peers, by the peers for the peers, for the purpose of raising funds for novel projects without anyone actually having to pay for it in monetary terms.
So basically ZeroCash method deploys sharing of influence to raise funds without funders actually having to risk or part with their assets.
AlgoShare is incentivized and equitable sharing of ever profiting algorithms seamlessly with peers to scrape tiny profits from algorithmic trading which at full potential is a $1.3K trillion industry.
In other words AlgoShare is about sharing trading algorithms with peers to democratize profit generation and distribution.
How Far Is EMI From Pilot Trials?
For estimating the technological readiness levels (TRL) we use the TRL scale originally developed by NASA and adapted by GridLAB-D for software products. The scale has 9 levels, level 1 being the formulation of the technology hypothesis and level 9 being the production grade maturity of the technology.
The ZeroCash developments over the previous couple of years recently resulted in reaching TRL-7 recently, when it successfully funded its first project with the participation of 162 influencers/curators. However, the other components of the EMI-AlgoShare ecosystem are a bit behind at TRL-6.
With TRLs at 6+, EMI can be readied for pilot trials that compare it headon with UBI.
For an application that targets almost 100% of the target population, it has to be highly scalable. Based on the quantum of operations involved in implementing EMI, ZeroCash has limitless scalability, but AlgoShare scalability has some limitations. So in terms of scalability it is a tango between the two unequals.
In a decentralized application the scalability not only depends on the scalability of blockchain but also on the nature of application itself, depending on:
i) the daily volume of on-chain operations the application warrants,
ii) monetary value of each on-chain operation, and,
iii) geo-territorial or sociopolitical segregation of target markets.
For instance EMI is not like Facebook or Twitter that a single product interface caters to the entire world. The sociopolitical heterogeneity of target markets compels segmentation of the solution into multiple diverse platforms. It is more like stock or commodities exchanges requiring multiple country or region specific platforms. For example the EMI platform has to be country-specific or even state-specific e.g. 50 different platforms catering to each of the 50 states of the United States. That eases up the scalability burden to a significant degree.
With technological readiness levels of EMI reaching a maturity that justifies real world pilot trials directly comparing it with UBI, it's time we explored the potential of EMI in alleviating poverty and countering the future job losses on account of the impending algorithmic obsolescence or AI apocalypse.
The article was simultaneously published here