Service, not material, is the basis of human groups

Human society, as it is currently configured, is unaffordable.


Because service, not material, is the true basis of human groups.

Membership of a group costs every individual member of the group a little something, an intangible, and not the same thing from every person, but something from everyone.

The group returns something to every individual member, an intangible, a feeling of belonging, and a sense of safety, and a contribution towards their individual happiness.

You cannot pay people to be a member of a group, people agree to be a member of the group knowing that they will make a contribution in return for their membership.

If you pay someone to be a member of the group, you automatically introduce the notion that their intrinsic value is not sufficient for group membership, you instantly degrade the very groupness of that group, and undermine the individual’s worthiness. The group can provide a service, a kindness, without the intrinsic value of the member coming into question.

Think about being asked around to a friend’s house for dinner: if, when you arrive at the front door, your host gives you £20 with a smile on their face, what would run through your mind?

As it is with your small group of friends, so it is with society writ large. We can deliver services to each other, we can guarantee each other’s personal safety, without questioning each person’s intrinsic value, and therefore without disturbing the most basic and natural sense of community that we have evolved with.

Because each individual contribution is so unique, money is always inadequate and overadequate and misrepresentative all at the same time. The appropriate trade is intangible, because only in-kind services are infinitely fungible based on the perceived value of the receiver.

A group of primates on the Savannah could never collect enough spare resources to compensate each member for their contributions. It is only the over abundance of fossil energy and financialisation that has deluded us that it was ever possible to pay members for their group belonging.

Service, not material, is the basis of human groups.

A primate group shares its food, its shelter and the caring – none of which is meted out in uniform, per member material compensation, it is a simple consequence of membership.

Love_PumpOnly when we abandon minimum compensation as the objective, and substitute it with minimum service provision, will we achieve a sustainable balance in the human economy.

Only then will we build societies in which each individual member is honoured, and in compensation for their honouring makes their contribution willingly.

Such a society integrates the unconscious and uncompensated contributions of its members, delivering true social safety without being dependent on material compensation beyond a level that is naturally accessible and affordable., while still preserving the incentive for everyone to gain additional rewards through material compensation for their special contributions.

It is with this understanding that LIFE advances the proposal for a human society based on universal services.

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