Welcome to the blog site for OUR SYSTEM. OUR SYSTEM is a global location for changing our system so it enables us all to live without harm. If you are interested like us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Our Agenda

A conscious acknowledgement of our common purpose as fulfilment without harm so we may organise ourselves, our justice systems, our economies, our organisations, and our societies to enable our pursuit of it. The organising principle of fulfilment without harm must override the pursuit of money and/or power. Specifically: (more...)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

'Dark Horse' Quotations

I was very pleased to find this book, "Dark Horse - Achieving Success Through The Pursuit Of Fulfilment". It gives a substantial backing (and some interesting case studies) to what I simply asserted logically in The Common Purpose Manifesto, that the common purpose is (or should be) fulfilment. Here are some quotes from Dark Horse (a dark horse being someone who pursues fulfilment first [though that pursuit is really for all of us if we recognise it, with the proviso that we do it without harm]):

"...to build a great and thriving society, we must get the best out of everyone, no matter who you are or where you are starting from." p12

"...the best way to help every human being live up to their full potential is by understanding and empowering individuals." p12

"...engagement in fulfilling work maximises your ability to learn, grow, and perform." p19

"...become the best version of yourself." p20

"...the pursuit of fulfilment ... maximises your chances for living your very best life." p21

"Dark horses ... harness their individuality in the pursuit of fulfilment... To do this effectively requires a commitment to knowing yourself as thoroughly as possible. Only by understanding the details of your interests and desires can you recognise and embrace opportunities that suit your authentic self." p38

"...the first step of the journey is always the same: the decision to pursue fulfilment. When dark horses make that choice, they do not focus on the potential wealth to be had or how masterful they might one day become. Instead, they recognise that an opportunity exists that fits their individuality - and they seize it. From that point forward, they make their decision based upon who they are, rather than who others tell them they should be." p44

"...Carl Jung, argued for the preeminence of the universal desire for life. The psychiatrist Victor Frankl declared that the desire for meaning was universal to the human heart, while the psychologist Erik Erikson believed it was the desire for human growth." p56 [All of these are, actually, highly congruent.]

"...if you want to attain fulfilment, it's essential to know exactly what puts the wind in your sails..." p60

"The key to engineering passion does not lie in following the one motive that burns hottest inside you, but rather in deliberately leveraging as many different motives as possible. The more distinct motives you can identify and harness, the greater your engagement will be with your life." p76

"...fit: the match between your individuality and your circumstances." p86

"The true power of choice [of freedom] is the power to find and select opportunities that activate the greatest number of your own motives. The power of choice is the power to engineer your purpose - and thus the power to achieve fulfilment. If you are free to search for choices that fit your individuality, you might discover opportunities that nobody else would even notice." p87

"The more of your motives that will be activated by a particular opportunity, the greater the passion you will engineer by choosing it - and the lower the riskiness of your choice." p95

"As long as you know your motives - and have a realistic appraisal of the demands of an opportunity - then you will be a better judge than anyone else of the riskiness of a choice, because you will be a better judge of fit. When others tell you that your choice seems perilous, they are usually adopting the standard mindset and ignoring your individuality." p95

"The more you understand yourself, the greater your ability to judge fit and decrease the role of luck. By knowing yourself and having the confidence to act upon that knowledge, you take control of your destiny." p96

"The moment you stop trying to get better is the moment that fulfilment begins to wither on the vine. ... The moment you close yourself off to opportunities that will increase your sense of authenticity, ...[is the moment] you risk losing your sense of purpose." p105

"Each time you make a meaningful choice based on your assessment of the fit between your motives and an opportunity, you are forging your own purpose. You are dictating the meaning and direction of your life." p112

": when we want something, we feel it." p120

"...embrace relative time by making your own choices at your own pace, time does not matter because you are maximising your fulfilment every step of the way..." p153

"If you choose a strategy that fits your individuality, you'll quickly ascend..." p164

"...if you rely upon situational decision-making - if you pursue near-term goals while maintaining the flexibility of changing course if a better strategy or opportunity presents itself - you will always be climbing higher." p165

"Get better at the things you care about most." p166

"...everyone is capable of achieving excellence and fulfilment, and our institutions should help every individual develop his or her potential to its fullest." p179

"Society is obligated to provide you with the opportunity to pursue fulfilment, and you are accountable for your own fulfilment." p218

"...for the founders [of the USA], happiness was synonymous with ... fulfilment." "...a person achieved happiness when his condition fit his character, talents and abilities." p240

"Jefferson [Thomas Jefferson, author of the USA Declaration of Independence] could have promised equal fulfilment to all. But he did not. Instead, the equality he vouchsafed was the pursuit of fulfilment." p241

"...an individual's pursuit of fulfilment inevitably benefits her neighbours, while the act of increasing her neighbours' fulfilment elevates that individual's own experience of fulfilment." p243

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

What Are Insights? (from simple to profound)

They are relative - some are deeper than others (but we need the shallow ones too - they are the basis for deeper ones).

Simple insight, from a population estimate: there were 4.9 million people in New Zealand as at 30 September 2018. That is, essentially a piece of data, it is an insight into New Zealand's population, but essentially just a number (a "fact" if you like, though actually an estimate), what it means to you, how you interpret it, may start to move it further from just a single piece of data to a more substantive meaningful insight, when you bring out this meaning and contextualise it with other information to gain greater understanding.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines insight as an "accurate and deep understanding". So the example above, of 4.9 million people in New Zealand, is an accurate (Statistic NZ's estimates are usually pretty accurate) but not deep understanding of New Zealand's population, although, of course, "deep" is relative. That is, it is on a scale (a continuum) from shallow to deep, but what is shallow or deep for one insight (and for one person) will differ according to what it is compared to (and who is assessing it). There is a progression. Like from simple to profound, or hard to soft. For instance, that there are 4.9 million people in New Zealand, might be a shallow understanding of NZ's population if we have numerous other information on the population that we could use to develop a more complete understanding of it; on the otherhand, it is a lot deeper understanding than simply, 'there are some people in New Zealand'. (Note that both of these statements are ‘factual’, and both could be termed a piece of data or information or knowledge.)

My point here really is to show that there is a scale for insights (as with all terms that have a relative component in their definition), and that it is false simplicity to assert that only 'deep' understandings are insights when the term deep itself is relative. Really, insights start shallow, like 'there are people in New Zealand', and gain depth as we gather more information, more data, and can say more things about what it all means. To reiterate, insights are on a scale from simple to profound, just like depth is on a scale from shallow to deep, and their place on that scale is relative, so one insight can be simple compared to more profound insights, while still being profound compared to more simple insights. And also, even though some insights we made in the past may look simple to those we make now, they may once also have looked profound (and more accurate) compared to the insights made before them, as, hopefully there is some progression to our 'accurate and deep understanding' of things - not only that, but those past 'simpler' insights also form a basis for future more-profound and more-accurate insights, a basis we cannot do without.

Relevant terms (OED):

Fact - A thing that is known or proved to be true.

Data - Facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.

Information - Facts provided or learned about something or someone.

Knowledge - Facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

Intelligence - Military or political information.

Understanding - Knowledge about a subject, situation, etc. or about how something works [this is actually the Cambridge dictionary definition, I didn't find the OED particularly good on this: 'An individual's perception or judgement of a situation.']

Insight - An accurate and deep understanding.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Friday, May 25, 2018

OUR SYSTEM Indicators [work in progress]

Wellbeing is a difficult thing to define, let alone to measure.

And the definition is critical to the measurement.

If you look to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, wellbeing isn't even the top criteria, it's just one of many.

Whereas, if you look at OECD Regional Wellbeing, it is of course, right at the top.

For the Legatum Prosperity Index, prosperity is of course the over-arching goal (but is properity just another measure for wellbeing?).

For OUR SYSTEM, and The Common Purpose (TCP) Manifesto, it is fulfilment (or living) without harm. That's because fulfilling our potential, which is growing, which is living, is what life is all about. Life is really all about living, right? And the only way we can all do that, is if we do it without harming other life or being harmed by other life, i.e. by being free. That's what our system should enable for us.

And that's what these OUR SYSTEM Indicators, following, are all about.

I'm putting these up here to garner thought and criticism and suggestions and comment.

They are, of course, based around The Common Purpose (fulfilment without harm) Manifesto, which, otherwise translated, is the freedom to live without harm (I think even Hayek would agree with that common purpose).

  Sub Themes
  - Proxy Indicator Measures.

  Purpose, Principle & Ways
  - Low suicide rate.
  - Low crime rate.
  - Low prisoners per capita.
  - High life satisfaction.
  - Human Rights protected by law.
  - No discriminatory laws.
  - Laws against discrimination.
  - Trust in legal system.
  - Use of restorative justice.

  - Free and fair competition law.
  - Open internet (net neutrality).
  - High ease of trade across borders.
  - High employment rate.
  - High work satisfaction.
  - Elements of a shared base income:
  flat tax structure at 50 percent,
  direct universal basic income,
  universal free education,
  universal free healthcare.
  - Elements of shared base income.
  Ideas & Growth
  - Low cost of sharing ideas.
  - High productivity growth.
  - Low unit costs of production.
  - Low residential construction costs.
  - Open internet (net neutrality).
  - High internet access.
  - Low proportion of monopolies.
  - Low consumer price inflation.
  - Low household indebtedness.
  - Elements of a shared base income.
  - High adjusted net savings rate.
  - High housing affordability.
  - High life satisfaction.
  - Elements of shared base income.
  - No monopoly profit gouging.

  Responsibility & Information
  Decision Making
  - Low income inequality.
  - High employment rate.
  - Low unemployment rate.
  - High productivity.

  - Low child abuse per capita.
  - Low homelessness per capita.
  - Human Rights protected by law.
  - Laws against domestic violence.
  - Equal gender participation in firm ownership.
  - Equal gender membership of parliament.
  - Democratic, fair and free elections.
  - Universal free education.
  - Primary school enrolment rate.
  - Secondary school enrolment rate.
  - Tertiary enrolment rate.
  - Universal free healthcare
  - Low mortality rate.
  - Low morbidity rate.
  - High life expectancy.
  - Low undernourishment.
  - Low air pollution (NOx/CO2 emissions per capita).
  - Low greenhouse gasses (CO2 emissions per capita).
  - Low fine particulate air pollution (PM25).
  - High proportion of land in national parks.
  - Free & unbiased news media.
  - Full coverage of events.
  - High confidence in the future.
  - High secularism (non-religious faith).
  - Low hate crime rate.
  - Low terrorism rate.
  - Low violence rate.
  - Low government corruption.
  - Generations down which citizenship can be retained.

  Our System
  - Elements of a shared base income.
  - High proportion tertiary educated.
  Natural Selection
  - Rising IQs.
  Make Change
  - Democratic government.
  Find Our Niche
  - Accessible career information.
  - High employment rate.
  - Low unemployment rate.
  The Transition

This is definitely a work in progress. I'd love to get comment. The thing I notice most different about the above framework is its focus on organisation - it is where most of us spend perhaps most of our lives, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of attention given to it. Perhaps that why it's so damn hard to find measures for it.

There is a lot of gaps for measures in above, and there is a balance between measures that most accurately reflect the theme, and the realism with which data for those measures can be attained. I want to obtain the data as internationally as possible to be able to assess and compare as many regions as possible, but the comparisons also need to be reasonable and robust.

You can also access the indicators via this Google Sheets file:

'OUR SYSTEM Indicators and more'.

If you select 'File/Download As' in the file, you can download it in an editable format of your choice. The file includes lists of indicators from other sets related to wellbeing, prosperity, happiness, fulfilment, etc, as well as a comparison between these by their high level categories (using OUR SYSTEM Indicators as the base, as that's what I'm most familiar with).

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Beautiful Data Tool From New Zealand

This clip gives a little taste of New Zealand's gorgeous Regional Economic Activity App. The app illustrates not just regional economic activity, but also activity in society and incomes, housing and the workforce, education and population, and also agriculture and tourism (the two most important sectors to New Zealand).

It's all put together in a sequence of themes and indicators that tell an original story for each region of the country (there are 16 main regions, and 66 smaller regions within them). Each region's story is set against its own slice of New Zealand's amazing natural scenery.

The app is available on both the App Store and Google Play (search for 'NZ Regions'), and is worth looking at simply for how it displays data in a most efficient but beautiful way even if you don't have an interest in New Zealand (though I think you will after looking at this app).

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Friday, May 18, 2018

Hayek Quotations Salient To OUR SYSTEM

I can't believe I hadn't read Hayek's The Road To Serfdom before. I always thought it was meant to be a capitalist rant, now I know better. It's in the spirit of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty and the freedom of the individual. Published in 1944, just before the end of WWII, and so dealing with the issues of national socialism, socialism generally, and individual freedom, it is definitely worth a good hard read. Later, Milton Friedman would could go on to pervert the ideas into a real rant for naked capitalism in his book Capitalism and Freedom (1962), but Hayek is much more balanced.

Here are some quotes salient to creating a system in which everybody has the freedom to live without harm (grouped by the main sections of The Common Purpose Manifesto)...


"The guiding principle, that a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, remains as true today as it was in the nineteenth century." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"The Rule of Law thus implies limits to the scope of legislation: it restricts it to the kind of general rules known as formal law, and excludes legislation either directly aimed at particular people, or at enabling anybody to use the coercive power of the state for the purpose of such discrimination." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"Similarly with respect to most of the general and permanent rules which the state may establish with regard to production, ...they do not conflict with liberal principles so long as they are intended to be permanent and are not used to favour or harm particular people." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"It may even be said that for the Rule of Law to be effective it is more important that there should be a rule applied always without exceptions, than what this rule is. Often the content of the rule is indeed of minor importance, provided the same rule is universally enforced." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...that we do not know their concrete effect, that we do not know what particular ends these rules will further, or which particular people they will assist, that they are merely given the form more likely on the whole to benefit all the people affected by them, is the most important criterion of formal rules in the sense in which we here use this term." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"Within the known rules of the game the individual is free to pursue his personal ends and desires, ..." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...the prevention of fraud and deception (including exploitation of ignorance) provides a great and by no means yet fully accomplished object of legislative activity." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek


"Let a uniform minimum be secured to everybody by all means". The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...we regard it as more important to use our resources in the best manner and for the purposes where they contribute most to our well-being than that we should use all our resources somehow." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...our only chance of building a decent world is that we can continue to improve the general level of wealth." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"..., where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks, the case for the state helping to organisae a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong." "...there is no incompatibility in principle between the state providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...there can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"..., it is the very complexity of the division of labour under modern conditions which makes competition the only method by which ... co-ordination can be adequately brought about." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

The "apparatus of registration which automatically records all the relevant effects of individual actions, and whose indications are at the same time the resultant of, and the guide for, all the individual decisions. ...is precisely what the price system does under competition". The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...planning and competition can be combined only by planning for competition, but not by planning against competition." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...shortcomings... particularly with regard to the law of corporations and of patents, have not only made competition work much more badly than it might have done, but have even led to the destruction of competition in many spheres." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"The functioning of competition not only requires adequate organisation of certain institutions like money, markets, and channels of information - some of which can never be adequately provided by private enterprise - but it depends above all on the existence of an appropriate legal system, a legal system designed both to preserve competition and to make it operate as beneficially as possible." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"It is necessary in the first instance that the parties in the market should be free to sell and buy at any price at which they can find a partner to the transaction, and that anybody should be free to produce, sell, and buy anything that may be produced or sold at all." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"The liberal argument is in favour of making the best possible use of the forces of competition as a means of co-ordinating human efforts... It is based on the conviction that where effective competition can be created, it is a better way of guiding individual efforts than any other." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek


"An international authority can be very just and contribute enormously if it merely keeps order and creates conditions in which the people can develop their own life". The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek


"...morals are of necessity a phenomenon of individual conduct, ...they can exist only in the sphere in which the individual is free to decide for himself". The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"Freedom to order our own conduct in the sphere where material circumstances force a choice upon us, and responsibility for the arrangement of our own life according to our own conscience, is the air in which alone moral sense grows and in which moral values are daily recreated in the free decision of the individual." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...the intensity of the moral emotions behind a movement like that of National-Socialism or communism can probably be compared only to those of the great religious movements of history." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...important qualities which facilitate the intercourse between men in a free society: kindliness and a sense of humour, personal modesty, and respect for the privacy and belief in the good intentions of one's neighbour." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...the state can do a great deal to help the spreading of knowledge and information and to assist mobility." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"Democracy is essentially a means, a utilitarian device for safe-guarding internal peace and individual freedom." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

"...the holder of coercive power should confine himself in general to creating conditions under which the knowledge and initiative of individuals is given the best scope so that they can plan most successfully". The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek


"We know that we are fighting for freedom to shape our life according to our own ideas." The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


If people don’t appreciate your contribution now, I think you’ve still got to do it, remember all the people who weren’t appreciated until after they’ve died. So try.

To be honest, market signals can obviously be wrong, or at least, very, very delayed. And you, contributing as yourself (even if it is while you are earning an income doing something else for someone else) is better than never being yourself at all.

So do what feels right to you. Contribute what you feel is needed (even if no-one seems to want it now - you never know, you may become an 'over-night success').

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


I am writing this tribute to LIFE as an alternative to belief in gods or God (and religion), and the idea we should live for an afterlife rather than for now. I’ve felt no great driver to do this before, but recently, I felt the direct repercussions of more importance being placed on the hereafter than living for now, and most us have felt similar repercussions (via religious violence or persecution or exclusion) indirectly, or have been vessels of this belief themselves.

Before we begin, we should probably acknowledge, that all beliefs in gods and the hereafter likely started as explanations for the mysteries of LIFE, and so why not just acknowledge the power of LIFE directly? So to begin… (note, I capitalise LIFE generally, and keep life singularly/individually lower case, but sometimes it can be read both ways…)...

LIFE is great. We are formed by LIFE, sustained by LIFE, the very air we breathe comes from LIFE, the food we eat is LIFE, LIFE is in us, we are LIFE. So choose LIFE, this life, now, choose to live fully and in accordance with LIFE. LIFE is the power in all of us. LIFE is the truth. LIFE is the way. Serve LIFE, whatever LIFE has in store.

If you feel it (a desire, a feeling, a need, a want), then LIFE knows it. We are made by LIFE for life, and life is made by LIFE for us to live it. LIFE knows what we want. LIFE knows. And LIFE will provide.

LIFE is the truth, and the truth is all around us, through us and in us, visible and invisible, understood and misunderstood. LIFE loves us, LIFE invented love, and attraction and nurturing and everything else we do we do in life, we evolved in LIFE. We (and all life alive today) are the forefront of LIFE’s evolution so far, we are made for our environment, we are our environment. So love LIFE, learn about LIFE: learn to live, live to learn.

LIFE is understood through more than science, there are fields of knowledge that have not been imagined, so there is always more to learn, be open to new ideas and especially ideas that confound your own.

Creation isn’t just one event that happened one time as an act of God, creation is happening all the time right now and for as long as there is LIFE.

“Life should be an aim unto itself, a purpose unto itself.” Montaigne.

“Let life be its own answer.” Sarah Bakewell on Montaigne and ‘How to live’.

“Live it [your life] according to Nature.” Marcus Aurelius.

“I don't have any idea of who or what God is. But I do believe in some great spiritual power. I feel it particularly when I'm out in nature. It's just something that's bigger and stronger than what I am or what anybody is. I feel it. And it's enough for me." Jane Goodall.

That spiritual power is LIFE. We can all believe in LIFE. It is real. It is bigger and stronger than us, but we are all part of it. There is no other force stronger for us, for all living things, for we are all part of LIFE. So celebrate LIFE, guard LIFE, protect LIFE, be grateful for LIFE, be true to LIFE, live your life, the life that is now.

LIFE is also a cycle, through death and creation, endlessly evolving. We are all dying, everyday that we live. Only when we are dead are our bodies not dying. Dying is part of living. Dying is the recycling of LIFE into more LIFE, and even though we die, our cousins and other life live on. So LIFE is effectively immortal, even when individuals are not.

LIFE is our king, and we are all kings, kings of ourselves. You are the king of yourself. LIFE gave us our kingdoms, our lives, to live, and by living them we fulfil LIFE itself. We respect LIFE and the lives we have been given by being ourselves, not the same, not sheep, but individuals, fulfilling the variety that LIFE has created in us. To do that, so that we can all do that, we must also do that without harm to others. Safe communities are communities of individuals respecting the right of everyone to be their individual selves. So live now, a good fulfilling life, without harm to others, realising your unique self and finding your niche, your place in your community, your place in the universe.

The Green Man (image courtesy of Big Bridge Design and Green Man Brewery

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Saturday, November 25, 2017

What Does A SBI Mean For Us? Shared Growth

The whole idea of a shared base income (the SBI, a universal income funded by a half share of all earnings) is to enable everyone to grow, to fulfil their potential. So the SBI encourages excellence in what we do, it encourages us to contribute at what we're best at, because that best realises who we are.

Humans (also known as 'homo sapiens' or 'wise men' to translate) are also mind-centric, we try to understand how things work in order to learn and to adapt and form ideas on how best to use and do things. The ideas on how to use, shape and form things are the ideas that enable us to do more. These are the ideas that form new techniques and new technology, and technology is the driver of economic growth. It is why, for the last 250 years or so, we've had economic growth of 2 percent per year on average; whereas, for the last 2 million years or so before that (when forms of primitive humans first evolved) economic growth had been virtually zero.

A true SBI should put us on a new level of growth, above the 2 per cent average. And it should enable the benefits of that growth to be shared with everyone, which is why the greater growth happens.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Shared Base Income (SBI) - quick intro

Income seeking is the desire to build enough wealth to ensure financial security. Financial security gives people the financial independence not to need to work for an income because they have enough wealth to sustain themselves without one. With financial independence, we can choose how we contribute and be safe from loss of income for any reason (such as illness, accident, whatever).

At a very high level of wealth, people have the equivalent of guaranteed income such that they can choose how much work, and what work, they do. They have the financial security, the financial independence, to do this.

One way to help people get off the rat-race of pursuing ever higher incomes to generate ever larger stores of wealth to gain financial security, is to just give them than financial security directly via a guaranteed income. This is what universal basic income plans seek to do.

Importantly, the universal basic income does not have to be only in direct payments. In fact, it is more effective if a substantial component of it is indirect in the form of public services like universal free education, universal free healthcare, and other public services that have a universal application by their nature, such as transportation infrastructure, law and order, and defence. By being a universal insurer, the government can (at least theoretically) provide the best and most effective services to everyone, and at the least cost (the government could competitive tender out the service provision, the important part is that the government ensures the universal provision).

The risk to giving everyone enough of a guaranteed income not to work, or rather, to work at what they wish to, is that the market forces of supply and demand and its intermediary of price levels are obscured, thus people may provide products and services that the market (other people) don’t actually want. That is why, rather than providing a guaranteed income at a high level, the guaranteed income, in a shared base income, is set at a ‘base' level, one that isn’t too high to destroy the desire to still attain more income by contributing product that others need.

The base income is coupled with a ‘half-share’ flat tax rate that funds it. It is flat so that there is a fixed (non-diminishing, so still motivating) return on every dollar earned, and is set at 50 per cent on the rationale that it can be conceived as a ‘fair share’, i.e., ‘half for you, half for me’. This also makes it very simple and straight-forward (and less costly) to administer.

The concept of a 'fair share', and a 'base income' that is 'shared universally', is why this universal basic income proposal is called the 'Shared Base Income' (SBI).

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Thursday, November 16, 2017

International Comparisons of UBI

In The Common Purpose Manifesto, I mentioned that a useful measure of international performance might be a simple comparison of the level of their shared base income (the SBI, which is a form of universal basic income or UBI).

Of course no country has a completely universal basic income (UBI) in place, let alone an SBI. However, partial UBIs exist, such as New Zealand's superannuation retirement income which is paid to all citizen 65 and over, and there are numerous countries with universal free (or highly subsidised) education and health services that are essentially an indirect form of universal income (where they are universally provided). Adding together the income of these provisions by country is unfortunately far from straightforward.

Aside from the income provision front, with an SBI we also have the half 'share' of profits wages and salaries. Performance on this can be calculated by comparing countries tax systems against the 50% flat tax of the SBI.

The best collated source of economic data is probably OECD Data. Unfortunately it's going to take quite a bit of work to shape the data available to universal incomes (direct or indirect). Even getting the right measures of public (govt.) sector spending is problematic.

The following example is government spending by 'individual'. Unfortunately the chart as 'shared' from OECD drops off the region names on the x-axis (too many regions I guess). The coloured bars are in fact Finland, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, and Sweden (in that order, left to right). The chart is interactive (click on the 'Fullscreen' tab to see it all with regions named).

'Individual' spending is in services like healthcare and education which can supposedly be provided by the market and so is being called 'individual' (even if they are provided universally). This is opposed to 'social' spending on 'public goods' like defence and justice (I'm not sure where they've placed infrastructure spending at this point).

It won't be any surprise, I imagine, that Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, and Sweden are also in the top ten OECD countries for 'life satisfaction'. The other four countries in that top ten are Iceland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. So given we know better sharing of income works better for our system, why aren't more nations doing it?

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Saturday, March 4, 2017

New Zealand's Best Apps

I don't know why there isn't a webpage with New Zealand's best apps, or at least, the best apps on New Zealand.

Given I am, in fact, a New Zealander (I live here so I am a New Zealander, by nationality anyway), I feel I should try to rectify the situation.

Also, because OUR SYSTEM is about trying to understand our system, these two apps that follow are particularly appropriate.

The first is the Regional Economic Activity App, because it gathers and summarises, in rapidly digestible figures and charts, the key things you need to know about every region of New Zealand (at least, every key thing that has a measure available). And it's not just economic. Also, it's beautiful. Like New Zealand.

The second app, the Occupation Outlook, is all about trying to find your niche. And that is what life is all about. That is our common purpose, to live, to grow, to find fulfilment, and to do that, just like in evolution, you need to find your niche. This app helps you do that. You can search and look at vital information on over 100 occupations (they're classified like a taxonomy, just like biologist's do for nature, you have to do that to make it all manageable, but of course there's infinite variety within those occupations and around them). You can also indicate your skill levels on core subjects to get back a list of matching occupations (in order to help you think about what you want to do). So give it a go, it's easy.

Here are the links. There's apps for both Android and Apple smartphones.

Apple iTunes App Store - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/new-zealand-regional-economic/id1022179449?ls=1&mt=8

Android Google Play - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nz.govt.mbie.rear

Apple iTunes App Store - https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/occupation-outlook-2016/id820638027?mt=8

Android Google Play - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fronde.occupationaloutlook&hl=en

Saturday, July 4, 2015


When I wrote The Common Purpose Manifesto in 2008/9 I tried to cover every key aspect of our system. But one part I left out is critical to creating a system where everyone has the freedom to live without harm. That part is love.

As an analyst, I do not usually deal with the emotional, feeling aspects of systems. Typically, these aspects are ignored in rational assessments, as they are expected to be dispassionate to be taken seriously.

However, emotions are fundamental to people in systems. Even analysts have them. And love is the strongest and most rewarding emotion. Love of life, love of wisdom, love of truth, love of others - these are vital to building a system based on fulfilment without harm, because fulfilment is all about life, wisdom and truth; and the capstone of living without harm is the love of others.

The following excerpt on love was added yesterday to The Common Purpose Manifesto...

"The pursuit of fulfilment without harm is the love of life, wisdom and truth, and the love of all people, to and from whom there should be no harm.

"Fulfilment is living. That is what life does, fulfil itself. This is it purpose, its prime directive. Sometimes this purpose is obscured by the complexity of our systems of government, economy, organisation and society. However, at their base, their key guiding principle should be to enable fulfilment for every person.

"The purpose of fulfilment often gets obscured by the competing purposes of income, property, status, and power. These purposes override the primary purpose of fulfilment in systems that aren't shaped to adequately protect and enable the fulfilment of everyone.

"Wisdom is the knowledge and understanding of life gained through experience and learning. As the most intellectual of all animals, wisdom is a key element of human fulfilment. Humans have evolved into beings for which wisdom, learning and understanding are primary to living.

"Truth is a requirement of wisdom, and is what is sought when wisdom is pursued. Incorrect understandings are not of greatest benefit, and the theories and ideas we produce to further our understanding are constantly under test by our observations from reality to ensure their accuracy and truth.

"For the purpose of fulfilment to be realised for all it must be pursued without harm to others. So, at the very least, the requirement is not to harm or accept harm. And given we are all one human species, there is every benefit for ourselves as a species to love and assist one another in a manner that best suits our individual abilities, that is, in a manner that fulfils ourselves doing it.

"Our own needs are our primary responsibility, we are responsible for ourselves, but in pursuing our fulfilment we can help others seek fulfilment in a virtuous cycle of increasing fulfilment, providing we act with love and without harm to others.

"When we have a system that enables everyone to fulfil themselves and realise their potential without harm then we will have a world of 'peace and love'. This goal is realised by shaping the systems we have and influencing the people who live in them. It is not reached through catastrophic upheavals and religious interventions to 'purge the wicked'.

"The pursuit of fulfilment without harm does have similarities to the Christian commandments to love God (which can be interpreted as love life as God is the creator, love wisdom as God is all knowledgeable, and love truth as God is the truth) and love your neighbour (so, at the very least, do them no harm). But fulfilment without harm does not require the carrot of the Promise that comes with Judgement Day (when all nations will war and Jesus will come to save the righteous who will live forever). This promise (and threat) isn't needed or helpful in the secular pursuit of fulfilment without harm, for the benefits of creating a system where everyone can find fulfilment (regardless of religion) accrue to everyone and are being pursued now. It is a positive purpose and an empowering purpose.

"Love was also around before Jesus and the Bible. Christianity, or other religions, do not own love no matter how strongly they claim to. The Bible puts a commendable emphasis on the love of God and neighbour above all other things. An emphasis we should realise non-religiously in the love of life (of ourselves and all 'creation' realised by pursuing our fulfilment and our understanding of the universe) and love of others (not harming them or accepting harm from them but assisting them in the ways we are best able). This maximises good relationships, peace on Earth, fulfilment for all, and love."

[Excerpt from The Common Purpose Manifesto]

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace