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Universal Income from Environmental Protection

>> Read paper presented at North American Basic Income Guarantee Conference

Abstract

One way to fund universal income is to charge fees for the use of assets that are owned in common by all. These assets which can be called ''universal property" or "common wealth" - include the limited capacity of the environment to safely absorb wastes, such as carbon dioxide. When pollution is free, this capacity is in danger of overuse and abuse: the so-called ''tragedy of the commons," or more accurately the ''tragedy of open access." If we limit use and charge fees for the permitted emissions, and then recycle the money as equal payments to all, we can simultaneously safeguard the environment and create an environmentally friendly source of universal income. Carbon dividends are a case in point.

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