A Community Called Earth

a widely unrecognized a fact of material existence

Stephen Yearwood
5 min readMay 3, 2024
Photo by Onno Blaauw on Unsplash

What is a community? Isn’t it an association of people bound together by one or more common interests?

Communities take different forms. Any focus of interest with more than one persons attending it who are in communication with one another re. that (those) interest(s) is a community.

In any formally organized community, the community itself is an interest of all the people who are its members. To be sure, (as Max Weber pointed out a long, long time ago) for some members of a community it can itself become more important to them than whatever the interest(s) might have been that led to the formation of the community in the first place.

There always remain, though, the initial interest(s) that lead to the formal organization of any such community. Those interests can be voluntary, but they can also be imposed upon people by material circumstances. It is in that latter sense that Earth has become one big community.

We have had a global economy since the very beginning of the exploitation of the ‘New World’ by the nations of Europe — more than five hundred years ago. That global economy has only grown more and more integrated over time.

It is that web of economic relations that has made Earth one community. Unlike any other community that has ever existed, this one is has become completely ubiquitous for all human beings. At this point there is not one single person on the planet who exists completely beyond its extent.

Yet, we continue to act as though Earth is not one big community. The nation-state — which as a form of community came into existence only slightly earlier than the global economy did—is the single biggest wall blocking people’s recognition of the existence of Community Earth.

The nation-state arose within the context of ‘us vs. them’, which has been the bane of human existence for as long as Homo’s have been walking upon this planet. Still, that imbues it with a power to bind together the people within such a community that is so strong that even this author is not enough of a fool to dare to challenge it. Even though I am convinced that the nation-state is itself a problem for humanity, this approach to recognizing Earth as a single economic community would not in any way compromise the ‘sacred’ sovereignty of any nation-state.

I’m talking about a single global currency. The particular way of doing that which I have developed would absolutely, positively eradicate unemployment and poverty from Earth, once and for all no matter the level of total output in any nation-state. It could even eliminate taxation. It would systemically increase sustainability for the entire globe by eliminating the political imperative that now exists in every nation-state to maximize total output in order to maximize employment, total income, and the collection of taxes (at whatever rates exist). In short, this global currency would govern, passively but effectively, the output of goods and services on planet Earth. Money would be created as needed to fund a guaranteed minimum income (GMI) and, if so desired, to fund all government in a nation-state, from the smallest hamlet to the national government.

Any nation on Earth could join this global currency system, regardless of its political system. There would be a global monetary agency. It would provide money to the central banks of nations that had joined (or, alternatively, its Treasury, or an Administrator of the Currency established for that purpose. The amount received by each nation’s central bank would be determined by two variables within each country: the population of the nation and the number of people in the nation being paid the guaranteed minimum income.

Assuming all nations joining the system would opt for having government funded by it, for any nation joining the system the money provided to fund government would be the same amount that was being spent by all government in it at the time the nation joined this system. (Since the money would be created as needed, not involving debt in any way or exchanges of national currencies, it would assume within each nation the value of the extant national currency for domestic transactions of all kinds.) The amount it received per capita at that point would determine future funding. Its amount would be gradually be raised from that base level until it was the same as that of the most well-funded nation (per capita) in the system. Nations in the system would still be free to enact taxes or issue debt (and raise taxes to pay it off), but no nation could have a ‘lender of last resort’: any bonds that were issued would have to be sold on the market, like the bonds of a corporation (and the way individual states in the U.S. currently do that). While there would obviously be details to be decided in the actual implementation of this proposal, that is the general idea.

The same general process would hold for the GMI. Initially, the amount of the GMI would reflect the average income in the nation when it joined the system. Even at that, in order to prevent inflation it would have to start at some lower minimum and be gradually raised to the average income for the nation. Then it could be gradually raised to the level for the system as a whole. The point is that eventually all nations in the system would have the same GMI, equal to that or the nation with the highest GMI that joined the system. Again, there are many details could only be addressed in the actual implementation of the proposal.

How it would work in a particular nation is presented in “Economic System Not the Problem” (here in Medium but not behind the paywall). Here, what is important is that it would formally recognize Earth as one vast community of which every person on the planet is a member — that and eliminating poverty and unemployment (and possibly taxes) from the planet while systemically increasing sustainability on a global scale. As an added bonus, it would presumably lessen the chances of armed conflict among nations.



Stephen Yearwood

unaffiliated, non-ideological, unpaid: M.A. in political economy (where philosophy and economics intersect) with a focus in money/distributive justice