World of Grim: Big Dreams

"It's not the size of the dreamer, it's the size of the dream."
Josh Ryan Evans

Hello again. I try and put a lot of thought into these World of Grim posts, and provide specific suggestions and examples to improve or invent products. I try to make sure they're useful or potentially useful, perhaps even just planting the seed of an idea. Tonight though, is a bit different.

I've put plenty of thought into what I present below, but there won't be specific suggestions. Maybe because I've been trying to decide what to write for what seems like weeks now - there are a great many things kicking around in my head.

While I'd prefer to present refined and practical ideas, tonight I just have get some of these great many things out. I want to take you further down the gopher hole into the World of Grim, and maybe let you see some of the beauty and sadness that lies within.

Gadgets and Gizmos aplenty
Often I'll wish a product was available that is beyond our current technology. For example, in the World of Grim your contact lenses are wirelessly networked to your smart phone and function as the lens of your digital camera. If not by mental command, perhaps by blinking in a certain pattern or specific eye movements, you snap a picture of exactly what you're seeing - and ready for upload in seconds.

Waiting room chairs will have the equivalent of tablet PCs built into the arms, like school desks - probably the pioneer of the project prior to waiting room adaption. Not only will you be able to review your medical forms and other things you're supposed to fill out or are allowed to see, you can play 'angry birds', or a waiting-room wide trivia competition. 

In airports and the like, essentially empty tablets will have an access code you enter into your smartphone. This code establishes a link between your phone and the tablet shell, allowing the tablet shell to receive it's input from your cellphone. Essentially providing a tablet-sized interface for your phone while you're in the chair.

When you make an appointment at your doctor's office, dentist, or anything eventually - they send an appointment entry to your smart phone's calendar. Once you confirm all the relevant appointment data is on your phone's calendar - rather than remembering to add it to your phone and taking the 5 minutes or so needed to Swype in the info.

But then things get strange...
Or if not strange, at least far grander in scale, unlikely, and potentially flawed. Daydream stuff, but a world or at least a country that I would feel truly blessed to be a part of - a more perfect union than we have.

A Job for Everyone
From what I gather from the little I follow in economics, money makes the world go round. More specifically, if the economy is slumping the best thing that can happen is for everyone to go spend money. To get things moving, to lubricate the digestive system of capitalism itself.

So, after a very necessary new revenue for the federal government (legalization of marijuana, implementation of a national sales tax, national lottery, whatever..), the fed hires every citizen capable of making purchasing decisions as a paid consumer. The government pays every citizen a set salary/allowance every month. Warren Buffet gets the same amount as the guy panhandling at your local I-5 off ramp.

 - the Salary
The payroll must be sacred. Specifically, it needs to be something everyone can consistently rely on. Funding it would have to happen well in advance and be of top priority. While Warren may spend a year's worth on a bottle of wine, the panhandler has to be able to rely on it to put a roof over his head.

The amount would be determined based on an over-analyzed figure called the "Survival Rate;" a figure generated by top accountants and super computers. The Survival Rate is the absolute minimum required to provide food, heat, and shelter in region of the country with the highest cost of living. The regions will be fairly large, including entire cities at minimum. It wouldn't base the shelter-rate portion on the rents and mortgages of Portland's west hills for example, but with regions stretching from Vancouver, WA to at least half-way to Salem, OR.

To help reduce the chances of the paid-consumer salary being used for nefarious things, all mortgage and rent payments could be specified to come out this salary in their contracts and agreements - to the point that only the shadiest landlords and banks wouldn't include such a clause in the agreements. It would be on your statement, but your rent would be paid before the rest of your salary hit your account. Judgments, child support, fines - all paid before you see a dime.

The beauty of the salary is the amazing potential it unlocks. You wouldn't have to worry about working while you went to school. Even if it didn't cover tuition, once you made enrollment you wouldn't have to worry about rent and utilities. You could focus your time on improving yourself, your station, and the income tax revenue you generate. Starving artists wouldn't have to starve and could pursue their masterpieces. 

 -Catch #1: this IS a Job though..
The citizens are being paid to be consumers, and in addition to buying things you'll have to rate them. At a minimum of once a month or every two weeks, in order to be eligible for the salary you'll have to log on to a specific website and rate at least 5 products. If they were purchased with your salary debit card that month, they'll be more likely to appear in your list-to-review.

You'll be allowed to rate as much as you like - a minimum but no upper limit. You'll be allowed and encouraged to write reviews and rate reviews. Your incentive to do so will be a salary bonus. The reviewers that write the reviews with the highest ratings will receive a bonus to their salary for the following month.

All of these ratings and data become useful to the government by being used to determine the recipients of the Bureau of Product Innovation and Excellence doles out its grant money. To further encourage technological advances as well an improved standard of living for all Americans, the BPIE awards grants in nearly every category. From highest rated Chicken Breasts to the newest medical imaging machines the BPIE grants encourage companies to improve their products in the hopes of higher ratings from the consumers. Their stockholders would want that grant.

 -Catch #2: What about the children?
This will be unpopular with bad parents, and possibly even controversial with the good ones...but:
In order to qualify to be a paid consumer, if children cohabitate at your place of residence - YOU MUST HAVE A VALID PARENTING LICENSE. 

In order to qualify for a parenting license, you must pass a parenting education course. Initially, the requirements could be frightfully low and become increasingly stringent as years progressed and renewals started. You know, minimum requirements like knowing not to shake a baby, how to recognize signs of abuse. As time went on, the government funded parenting education centers could start teaching more advanced courses; such as courses that teach the nutrition requirements of the various childhood development phases.

Back to the surface...
I'm tempted to continue - to delve into the changes in our political system that shape the World of Grim. Perhaps mercifully, I've decided to stop here. I cherish these ideas of paid-consumers and political changes enough that I think they deserve their own spaces. This way they can better be judged on their individual merits, and I can have less concern about the length of my posts being overwhelming to potential readers.