WellFair is a social service, and should be limited to fulfilling a social contract.
Although WellFair has significant beneficial economic effects, it is not an economic policy and should not be designed to meet economic goals.
What is a WellFair service?
- A Wellfair service is a service that is needed by 99%+ of people during an average lifetime, and is part of delivering on the social contract between us. The social contract says that we guarantee each other that we will not die from lack of shelter of sustenance, and that we will provide services we can afford to help us each reach our potential to contribute.
- A WellFair service is a service, not a cash benefit.
- WellFair services are universal. This means that anyone should be able to use the service, without a means test.
Start with the social contract
When determining whether something should, or should not, be included in WellFair, first ask yourself: “Is this necessary to deliver on my social contract with everyone else that lives in my society?”
Next, ask yourself: “Can we afford to provide this service universally to everyone that needs it?”
Lastly, “Can this be delivered as a service and not in cash?”
If the answer is “yes” to all 3 questions, then it can be a WellFair service.
Pay Attention to the Tax Effect
All WellFair services are funded from Income Taxes. So if you increase the services available on WellFair, you increase the rate of Income Tax.
In designing a service to meet a WellFair need, suitable bias should be given to designs with the lowest environmental impact.
Transport is a good example: free universal transport could conceivably be designed as a free car for everyone (although that would hardly be the most cost effective, and would raise taxes unaffordably). Whereas a free public bus service would still achieve the WellFair objective of enabling movement around the Community to access work and other WellFair services, but with a much lower environmental impact, and at a much lower cost.
A Subsidy is not a WellFair service
Reducing the price of something is not the same as WellFair. A subsidy is a “reverse tax”, it is using the public’s money to reduce the price of a product or service to make it more accessible.
The trouble with a subsidy is that it does not contain the discipline invoked by service delivery, so it is exposed to misuse and inefficiency. Also, because subsidies only reduce the price of an item instead of making it free, they do not meet the criteria for a WellFair service that is universally available, at the point of need, to all.
In thinking through what the Citizen Contract means in practical terms, we arrive at a description of the services and infrastructure that would make that contract a reality. We realise that beyond food and a bed, there are other services on which the true fulfilment of our social promise depends.
The following are the elements included in WellFair to fulfil our social contract:
We readily concede that only the first two elements refer to the first part of our social promise, that we will not die for lack of shelter or sustenance, but it fairly quickly struck us that to simply keep someone alive was neither useful nor the fulfilment of the spirit of our social contract. And so the remainder of the elements in the list for WellFair refer to the second part of our social promise: to provide the opportunity to make the most of life.
Interestingly, these other elements are also what we would describe as the necessary prerequisite services, meaning that they are necessary to allow our society to function as a sophisticated democracy, and they support the delivery of the other services. For example, there is little point in having excellent schools if children are unhealthy, under nourished, cold at night, or cannot get to the school easily.