Social Credits

Although the concept of volunteering with regard to participation in democratic processes is important it should not be the be all and end all of participation. Social structures come about as a result of the mutual benefit accruing to participants. A far greater degree of participation could be inspired by the accrual of social credits through activity that can be seen to build social capital / community capacity.

Social credits could take different forms e.g. straightforward tax credits, council tax relief, or exemption from job search obligations for unemployed people. For example people who grow their own food could be exempted from a portion of their job search obligation.

In short activities identified as having social value would accrue social credits which could then be redeemed in a variety of ways. Environmentally beneficial activity would be highly valued. Other ways in which social credits could be redeemed might include free entry into council facilities, reduction in the cost of TV license / road tax etc, etc.

This needn't be open to the whole population but confined to people on gateway benefits or on low incomes.

Why the contribution is important

This idea is important as it goes some way to spreading the benefit of participating in social / community / democratic processes. People for whom society "works" can afford to exercise choice. They can, to some extent, choose their career paths or have the money to support particular charities. They can achieve a sense of self efficacy through the choices they are enabled to make through the security and priviledge they enjoy. They also enjoy social credits by default e.g. by living in low crime areas or by their children attending schools with high attainment. This is not always the result of any socially beneficial behaviour other than the ability to attract credit (financial) or achieve a certain income.

This idea allows people to use the asset they do have have and are prevented from using to their own or society's benefit i.e. time. They are forced to use it in unproductive and demmoralising job search activity which leaves them feeling helpless, hopeless and alienated. People on low wages could really benefit from this as well through relief from onerous costs or obligations. Most of all society in general would benefit from being able to harness the potential of the massive pool of human potential that is currently wasted. It would give people a stake in society. Altruism is considered a virtue but is really a luxury and a reward in itself. Let's give those who can't afford it the opportunity to benefit from participation in social/ community/ democratic / environmentally beneficial activity

by zencalvanist on November 06, 2015 at 10:13AM

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