Tackling Inequality Through the Social Ownership of Capital


Share  Tweet
Library of Congress

People’s Policy Project’s has released its fifth major paper: “Social Wealth Fund for America.”

In the paper, I argue that the federal government should create a new investment fund called the American Solidarity Fund (ASF) and issue every American adult one share of ownership in the fund. After the ASF is created, the government will gradually accumulate assets for the fund to manage, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. As the assets under management increase, the value of the shares held by the citizen-owners will increase, causing wealth inequality to fall. Although the citizen-owners will not be permitted to sell their shares, they will be paid a universal basic dividend each year from the investment income earned by the fund.

The paper provides a background on social wealth funds, including Sweden’s famous Meidner plan, Norway’s Government Pension Fund, and the Alaska Permanent Fund. The paper also provides a detailed proposal, modeled primarily off of the Alaska Permanent Fund, that federal lawmakers could use to create a dividend-paying social wealth fund for the whole country.

The report contains a video about the Alaska Permanent Fund (which is reproduced below). Ryan Cooper wrote the script for the video. Elizabeth Bruenig did the voiceover. Alex Williams edited the audio. And Bran Dougherty-Johnson is the genius behind the animation.

The rest of the report, including the microsite, pdf, and physical book was beautifully designed by Jon White.

Coverage
Vox: The big idea that could make democratic socialism a reality
Huffington Post: Alaska Gives Cash To Its Citizens Every Year. The Rest Of The U.S. Could Too.
The Intercept: A “Social Wealth Fund” Could Be the Next Big Idea
Jacobin: Why We Need a Social Wealth Fund
A Plus: Alaska Gives Every Resident Cash Each Year. Could The Program Work Nationwide?
UE Newsletter: The Fight for Good Jobs and a Democratic Economy
Dig Radio: Matt Bruenig Spreads the Wealth Around
Ring of Fire: Episode 452: Setting up a Social Wealth Fund for America Explained
MarketWatch: All Americans would get an income boost under this new plan to share the country’s riches
The Christian Century: The downside of an up market
The Week: The case for an American social wealth fund
The Economist: A radical idea for reducing inequality deserves more attention