This week we began speaking about need-based economic models (food stamps initially, and then other theoretical, fixed value assets). We expanded upon this in thinking of the implications of value based systems upon climate change and the potential for incentivizing economic activity that benefits short term and long term ecological stability.
We thought through several scenarios around the concept of EcoDollars – a value system based on the ecological status of a city/country/region:
1. What if for every purchase you make with EcoDollars for a product, you retain some monetary value, which incentivises you to spend your money on ecologically friendly products.
The core idea here is that we thought about was the infrastructure costs of building higher sea walls, disaster prevention, etc. These are vastly more expensive than incentivizing purchases of ecologically sound products that if purchased en masse, could at least minimize the acceleration of climate change. From a purely fiscal standpoint, it’s more expensive to pay for the aftermath of a Hurricane Sandy etc every decade than incentivizing change in social behavior in aggregate.
2. What if you you has a currency that could be used like a normal currency for everyday transactions but the inflation rates were based, again, on how sustainable a region is doing.
Essentially we are considering an alternative system for taxing companies, but instead of focussing on creating constraints and regulations in the market, we incentivize the public and in essence give them the power to decide how heavily the factories that primarily responsible for environmental problems would be taxed (hypothetically).
Here are some of the questions we have and additional elements of consideration:
- What are the benefits of the additional currency?
- Do we want to avoid just thinking of a traditional currency with a tax on climate negative purchases?
- What is the value for the end consumer actually comprised of?
- Who owns and operates it? Crowdsourced or GOV sponsored or agency NGO?
- What do we need to consider about building another currency on top of an existing currency?