Mutual Fund of Albus - Second Edition
Written: February 28, 2005
Republished: September 3, 2007
In 1980, I came to the conclusion that the dictatorship of all
socialist countries, in one way or another, is related to the
state ownership of the means of production, where the socialists,
ever since Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels, had assumed
the *state* ownership to be the manifestation of *public* ownership,
and had chosen state ownership as the cornerstone of all their
economic systems, hoping that one day the state to wither away,
and thus to arrive at a classless Communist ideal. I have explained
this in details in Marxist
Thought & Monism.
some communists had tried to recognize other forms of ownership
in their respective countries, even some kinds of workers' self-management
or employee ownership of some industries, but basically none of
those solutions, had been able to offer an economic alternative
to state ownership.
many socialists tried hard to create mechanisms that state officials
of socialist countries, not to act as owners of the means of production,
and to become "true" representatives of the people.
But such schemes even in the most advanced semi-socialist countries
like Sweden had failed, let alone in China, Vietnam, or North
Korea, and the state officials treat people as if *they* are the
owners of what the state owns. I have discussed the fundamental
problem that causes such efforts to fail in my paper entitled Is Socialism
More just? and no need to discuss here.
For me, basically
offering an economic alternative to state ownership, was an important
part of my search. Even in 1980, in Tehran, when invited for formation
of shorAyeh motahede chap, which was being formed as an
alternative leftist organization distancing itself from Soviet
Union, China, and other existing socialist countries, I still
left the process of writing the program, because I had the fundamental
difference with everyone because of opposing *state* ownership.
In other words,
all socialists believed in state ownership as the main form of
ownership, and it was being written into the program of the new
organization, and I could not accept it. This is when I called
myself *ayandeh-negar* in Tehran of 1980, not even knowing much
about the futurist movement, and started searching beyond the existing capitalism
In 1984, I
ran across an article by James S. Albus entitled Robots
and the Economy in the December issue of Futurist Magazine.
Albus was discussing his proposal to end poverty in the U.S.,
from his book of 1976, entitled Peoples' Capitalism: The Economics
of the Robot Revolution which is available from his site. His
basic point was that only less than 5 percent of Americans received
most of their income from ownership of capital stock and he wanted
to change this reality.
basic concepts in his 1976 work, were to create "a National
Mutual Fund [NMF] to invest in private industry.. and the investments
to be financed by loans from the Federal Reserve Bank.. and every
adult U.S. citizen to be given a share of the National Mutual
Fund.. and thus each citizen would own a share of the means of
production, ..and everyone would receive dividends based on profits
earned on investment,. and within two decades, National Mutual
Fund dividends could provide a livable income for all."
very hard and self-published his book and beside "The Futurist"
magazine, he only discussed it two technical journals. He himself
is a Senior Fellow at the NIST (National Institute of Standards
and Technology) which is a prestigious technical body. Albus was
neither related to any people's movements, nor was he recognized
by any academic circles of economics, and his work was basically
ignored by main stream economic journals and establishment.
Albus is a
futurist and a very progressive individual, who had written on
technical issues like Artificial Intelligence, as well as writing
on political and human rights issues, for example about the topic
of oil and human rights in Saudi Arabia. Albus's web site is a
great source of diverse interesting writings.
In the subsequent
years, I did not do any work on Albus's proposal. I only referred
to it in my A
Futurist Viewpoint, as one possible way to modify the Welfare
system, to base it on non-governmental economic foundations.
My own work
on social justice, took a different turn. I first wrote Intelligent
Tools: The cornerstone of a New Civilization, where I discussed
the significance of producing artificial intelligence, which made
it possible to put an end to material basis of subjugation of
human by human. Then I wrote a paper, A
Theory of Uniqueness Value, arguing for a new way of looking
at Classical Theory of Value in Economics, and summarized it in
an article entitled Knowledge
Economy & Social Justice, where I basically showed that
in post-industrial economies, value is not determined by *average*,
but is determined by the *best*, or what is perceived as best,
and thus the issue of economic justice in the upcoming civilizations,
is between peers of the new professions, and its solution cannot
be found in the industrial production, between owners and non-owners
of the means of production.
But work on
the issue of ownership of means of production has continued, and
the privatization projects in former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe,
China, and other countries are in reality efforts to search for
an beyond state ownership and the importance of Albus's model
is for starting to search for an alternative beyond state ownership.
State ownership is a view that has stayed with most of Iranian
political forces from Jebhe nationalists to leftists, and many
monarchists and Islamists, whereas the new projects show that
we do not have to choose the model of state ownership.
It is interesting
that these ideas are being born by many, who have seen the damages
of state ownership to democracy, both in Iran and elsewhere, and
do not see the return to old socialist or capitalist solutions,
and are looking beyond them, not just because they do not like
the injustices related to those systems, which they don't, but
because such a return will not work in a post-industrial economy.
The world of global post-industrial society needs bold economic
programs and those who think that futurists are advocating the
old capitalist path, when rejecting state ownership, do not realize
that this is not true, and we are looking beyond the solutions
of the past.
If we thought
like the liberals or social-democrats, then we would not say that
we are looking beyond, and surely we would not say like Alvin
Toffler that we have more questions than answers. The reality
is that we are looking beyond industrial society, where in its
capitalist form or socialist form, characterizing new ways of
doing things in a post-industrial world, and those like Albus,
who are not respected in established schools of right or left,
are more of value to our thinking as futurists, than the repetition
of capitalist and socialist solutions which are not working anymore.
a Futurist, Federal, Democratic, and Secular Second Republic in
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