With a shared base income, people can afford to contribute digitally unlimited resources for close to free. Physically limited resources need to be charged for, and the earnings shared, but online resources need be only minimally. The shared base income means people can afford the resources they need.

Even with a shared income, people should earn from their digital produce. It should generate the value put into it, but sustainable and fair online prices are still being determined, and are at risk of inflation by high-overhead corporates protective of profits.

The fair price needs to reflect the minimal cost of online delivery and duplication. The original product should retail it at a price that appeals over copies.

The means of payment needs to be easy and the size of the market factored in at the beginning. First adopter premiums have little validity or workability when delivery and duplication costs are minimal and alternate options freely available.

Prices may need to be tiny, maybe smaller than the smallest unit of currency. As transactions are electronic, banks can facilitate these.

For instance, a print newspaper is purchased as a total unit for a few dollars, it cannot be purchased any other way. The earnings from one sale cover a fraction of the total costs of writing, printing and distributing all the papers produced that day.

An online newspaper is not consumed as a single unit – its consumption is by article. The earnings from an article must cover a fraction of the total cost of writing that article.

Distributed online, the earnings a single article needs to generate to cover its costs are low. For a popular newspaper, the per article price could be smaller than the smallest unit of currency. Some articles will cover the cost of many articles according to their popularity.

As for newspaper stories, so for any product distributed online: minimal costs with massive potential markets and cheap electronic transactions can be reflected in minimal prices.

The success of minimal transaction charges is demonstrated by M-Pesa – the mobile phone service in Kenya that allows mobile users to electronically transfer funds to others mobiles for a tiny cost, making numerous small transactions possible while generating enough revenue for the provider.


[Excerpt from The Common Purpose]


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