The effort to change America’s psychosis with race relations and the passive-aggressive grip that unfettered capitalism has on its core operating system is intertwined. How many times have you seen your local post office or town hall flag flying at half mast? This week in New York, two police officers were killed in the line of duty, and we were reminded of it as they lowered flags around the city. I’m sure most people think that in America we’ve reached a point where stars and stripes are rarely allowed to fly from the top of its pole, almost out of shame for the seemingly endless instances of mass shootings, race and gender conflict and politically inspired crowd scenes. This issue has a long arc with lots of trial and error to make changes. Groups as diverse as the Nation of Islam and modern democratic socialists have a common cause, to bring structures of integrity to their community. In this article, we’ll also discover how forward-looking measures like universal basic income can be hijacked when tried in America. Expanding bitcoin’s use case can offer positive outcomes for all those progressive movements seeking autonomy from the system.
Can a bean pie be a symbol of economic change?
Malcolm X had a goal to change his community, but his first hurdle was to change himself. As a convert to Islam, there were a large number of habits that the former criminal had to change. The Nation of Islam considered itself the balm of the black community and Malcolm was a spearhead in New York for their cause. Among his impassioned rhetoric were his simpler discussions of changes to his diet, bean pie for example was a key symbol of a sea change from the traditional soul food he had grown up on, food that he believed was poisoning his community. It was symbolic not only because it offered a healthy alternative to greasy meals common to Harlemites, but it could be easily produced and sold in small businesses owned by black citizens in New York City. The story of Malcolm X demonstrates that self-reliance is key to escaping repression, starting with something as simple as a bean pie.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has been a direct line from the early days of civil rights marches until today. His popularity in two US presidential campaigns was emblematic of the issues that now plague the minds of Americans. He was the first candidate for the nation’s highest office to openly call himself a democratic socialist, and much of the voting population, especially young people, favored this kind of change. In its own way, it was touching on what this author believes is the same central problem that Bitcoin solves – that is, a deep mistrust of capitalism and those in power. within its structures. While the platform presented by Senator Sanders did not attack fiat currency per se, it did envision fiscal policy that served the people before powerful vested interests. The question about these struggles, civil rights and the fight against income inequality is, what do they all have in common? It is a desire for autonomy from a society of racist thought, unfair political bias, a lack of equal opportunity, and many other cultural barriers. Imagine if Malcolm X could have read Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper on Bitcoin and realized he could open the door to his community acting as their bank and benefactor outside of tyranny, as he perceived it. , of the American system?
As the days go by, new use cases are being developed for Bitcoin, beyond the idea of massive “earnings”. Something we can take for granted in America is having a bank account; however, there are over 2 billion people on earth who are unbanked. This sad state of affairs is depriving a giant and innovative population of the benefits of digital commerce. What we are seeing now in El Salvador and soon in other countries is that this banking hurdle is being overcome by a Lightning Network app that allows unbanked citizens to transact with bitcoins on their cellphones. This same feature can be used for communities that wish to act outside or alongside typical monetary conventions. Whatever their reason, properly used bitcoin can help them find agency and freedom that would also reduce the need to get involved in extreme or anti-social behavior. This byproduct of bitcoin usage suggests a progressive society rather than a simple call for a libertarian financial system. Some Bitcoin maximalists may call for the end of fiat money; we can all find that by freeing ourselves from fiat tyranny, there is a chance that global monetary policy can reform itself.
Building on UBI: A cautionary tale in Stockton
Can $500 change your life? Michael Tubbs, the former mayor of Stockton, California, asked himself this question and began a two-year experiment in his sleepy community by implementing Universal Basic Income (UBI). The concept is simple – every citizen in the program receives $500 per month with no strings attached. Although the full report will not be completed until later in 2022, early indications are that this interim amount has had a huge impact on the people of Stockton. People tended to pay their debts, keep their jobs when car repairs would otherwise cripple them, and reduce the stress on mothers who had to pay for essentials for their children, improving Stockton’s mental health. The long-term viability of UBI can be debated, but not the political reality of what happened in Stockton. Mayor Tubbs became famous in the national press for his compelling life story and his courage to help the poor. However, throughout the UBI experience, he had left himself open to growing criticism on social media. A right-wing inspired blog portrays him as someone who recklessly doles out taxpayers’ money. He lost his position to a Republican challenger who is unlikely to retain UBI stipends. The point is that if the program had had a bitcoin component as part of UBI payments, there could have been increased long-term value for recipients. The UBI program could have survived the winds of political change.
Economic uncertainty in communities and at the individual level is to blame for the lion’s share of America’s woes. Imagine cantons that could increase tax windfalls with the support of bitcoin to ensure the financing of schools and public works? Further, imagine the budget of your town hall on a transparent blockchain to avoid corruption? It will take some leadership like that shown by newly elected New York City Mayor Eric Adams. He went public that he would convert his first paycheck as mayor to bitcoin despite falling prices. These are important steps toward mass adoption of a decentralized source of leverage and an end to disaster fatigue in America.
This is a guest post by Scott Dennis. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.