Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Inducements, Real and Virtual

More on the Three Sub-Currencies of the Terra; Eduterras, Ecuterras and Paxterras

By John Taylor; 2009 Nov 04, Qudrat 01, 166 BE

Economics is not just for economists. Monetary policy should broaden its scope to include more than profit, growth and other merely economic values. With proper organization, the money supply can be used as a positive reinforcement for moral worth and socially beneficial behavior. As a way of doing this, we are contemplating a universal currency called the Terra that would be overseen by a Comenian world parliament, that is, a decentralized body of three houses, one each for politics, science and faith. Comenius called these branches of the world court and parliament the Dicastery of Peace, the College of Light and the Ecumenical Consistory.

The ability to print its own currency permits a government to work out its own monetary policy. Each of these branches, therefore, can work an independent monetary policy by manipulating its own particular brand of terra currency. Thus, there are three flavours of Terra currency, called respectively the "paxterra," "eduterra," and "ecuterra." Reflecting this structure, subsidiary authorities at local levels run their own banks, insurance companies and other financial organs as public utilities. These print and distribute either paxterras, eduterras or ecuterras, as needed. Each currency has a special use and a strictly limited purpose.

Whereas governance in the past has been preoccupied with force and punishment, each of these three currencies is designed to to open up the field to rewards as well. Hence, terras also have the unique ability to purchase adornments and enhancements for escutcheons, the official displays marking a prestigious place in a cosmopolitan order. Thus, the inducement of earning paxterras protects our immediate interest in law, order and keeping the peace. Eduterras are the tool of scientists, teachers and other experts in promoting educational ends. Finally, ecuterras maintain our moral center, reconciling us to a longer perspective.

Let us look in more detail at each currency in turn.

The paxterra is what we think of as money today, a politico-economic currency. The guaranteed basic income is paid in paxterras, so for most people its primary use is paying basic living expenses, food, clothing and shelter. Paxterras are also used for reward schemes based on certain professions, similar to the teacher's eduterra that we have already discussed in some detail. Although under the aegis of the Dicastery of Peace, these schemes are promoted by and for members of protective professions, such as the police, military, doctors, nurses, civil servants and politicians. Beyond these watchdog purposes, the paxterra is mostly the currency of basic economic necessities, not rewards, since opportunities to spend paxterras are strictly limited.

The eduterra is the currency overseen by the college of light. It is earned and distributed by philosophers, scientists, teachers and other trades and professions in order to promote learning and reinforce the practical application of knowledge.

In earlier discussions I have concentrated on the use of the eduterra in early schooling as the currency of students. However, earning an eduterra income does not stop when classes end. As children grow into adolescents they wean themselves from student eduterras to coop and apprenticeship eduterras. Finally, the eduterra becomes the currency of one's trade or profession. Independent adults earn eduterras from their work and, since they have a vote for their representative on the college of light, they also pay part of their taxes in eduterras. Eduterras are also paid to their trade, which distributes them in controlled ways to further the professional goals and interests of that field of endeavor.

With their own currency, trades and professions can institute monetary policy, in effect, leveraging knowledge itself. As an area of knowledge becomes more or less useful to humanity, its exchange value will rise or fall in comparison with others. Instead of passively offering advice as now, control over eduterras give experts the ability to actively make their own policy, literally to put their money where their mouth is.

The ecuterra is the currency managed by the Ecumenical Consistory, the religious and existential branch of the Comenian government. The "ecu" in ecuterra comes from "ecumenical," the Greek word for "the entire populated world." Although in English we use the word to refer to relations among Christian sects, here we include all world religions and beyond them to the wider "populated world" of spiritual, eternal things, including the arts, literature, music and painting. Whereas paxterras are the currency of citizens, the ecuterra is the currency of everyone endowed with a soul. Whereas eduterras are primarily the currency of teachers, youth and the learned professions, ecuterras are the currency of old age, the time when our thoughts turn to the fruit of our whole lives, to what extends beyond this fleeting lifetime.

Thus the ecuterra is the primary means of exchange not only of faith groups but also manual workers, artists and artisans, everyone whose calling involves the long-term concerns of beauty, wisdom and virtue. It is the currency of human fulfillment, of all that is shadowed by the aspect of eternity. For example, most of the badges on the personal escutcheon, a heraldic device displayed in life and placed on one's gravestone after death, are purchased with ecuterras.

In order to promote a balanced life for all, one characterized by exuberant effort and deep involvement, yet devoid of desperation, fanaticism or fundamentalism, every paycheck must by law include a minimum quantity of each of the three kinds of Terra, eduterras, paxterras and ecuterras. A scientist or teacher would receive a higher proportion of eduterras, a doctor or police officer gets more paxterras and an artisan or pastor earns more ecuterras than others. However, this is because their professional lives give them both knowledge and opportunity to spend these currencies more intelligently than others.

This contrasts with the present financial system. Nationalist governments delegate monetary policy to central banks, and new money is created by bankers, who leverage debt. With the eduterra, the learned create new money through knowledge, not credit and lending. With the paxterra, new money comes to those whose work protect the peace and health of society. With the ecuterra, new money goes to those who would worship God and prolong their own memory by enriching and beautifying our populated world.

At each nexus of economic activity, monetary policy is dynamically worked out in a "war and peace room," a real-time, large scale display of the local economy. Like courtrooms, these planning rooms are required by law to be open to public examination at all times. Here inventors and entrepreneurs present initiatives, projects and proposals to all concerned stakeholders. The rooms also serve as monetary exchanges between real and virtual currencies.

A virtual currency is the money used in a genre of computer games called "virtual worlds," the best known of which is Second Life. These virtual worlds train all concerned parties in the skills and values of that currency, in an atmosphere where mistakes can be made and risks taken without painful real-world consequences. The lessons gained from this activity, both in professional practice and in computer games and simulations, are incorporated here into actual monetary policy. Here, as well as in the real world, a player has an escutcheon designed to improve with moderate effort, and worsen as the bounds of moderation burst and break.

Rather than constantly introducing new laws and rules, a Comenian system thus applies subtle monetary inducements to swing the balance of power over to indirect influence rather than arbitrary force.


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