Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
Write-in mayoral candidate Ingrid LaFleur recently announced her plan of action at the campaign office. It was her last co-creation session before the primary. Believing in the intelligence and expertise of Detroiters, LaFleur created the weekly series of co-creation sessions to bring the community together to discuss challenges Detroit faces and possible resolutions. Supporters and members of the community were present to give thoughts and comments on her plan of action.
A central focus of the plan of action is the implementation of a universal basic income (UBI) for Detroit residents. “Because of automation will be taking over a significant portion of our work force and Detroit faces a near 64% poverty rate, we must be strategic in developing a system that no longer perpetuates the cycle of poverty but instead allows for Detroit citizens to cover basic expenses–flood, shelter, utilities, transportation–and also helps to grow the local economy. UBI paired with a local cryptocurrency is the way forward,” said LaFleur.
LaFleur proposes every Detroit citizen receive $2,000 a month, half in fiat currency and the other half in a local digital currency using blockchain technology. She calls the local cryptocurrency the D-coin. The D-coin will be used at local businesses for goods and services only within the city limits. Additional D-coins can be earned by working in service of the community. The city of Detroit will charge a fee to process every D-coin transaction, called mining. A portion of the revenue generated will go back into the UBI system, and schools and training programs for youth and adults.
Blockchain technology, she states, can also help create a more transparent and efficient government because blockchains record and securely verify each transaction instantly so time- consuming bureaucratic administrative work is no longer necessary. She lists land contracts, licenses, medical records, and the ability to vote online among the many uses of blockchain technology within city government.
LaFleur’s plan of action also includes a municipal bank to process D-coin and money from the cannabis industry, a city-wide solar power cooperative, a comprehensive climate plan and a creation of a cultural affairs department to strengthen the creative economy.
PLAN OF ACTION
Our current economy is based on exploitation and extraction of talent, skills, and labor. Detroit is in need of a new economy that uplifts a new value system. The current economic and government systems are outdated ways of operating and uphold beliefs and values misaligned with the citizens of Detroit. We are in need of true democratic governance and community ownership. By focusing on the root cause of systematic oppression we can end the cycle of poverty, create a future where wealth creation is a tool of the people. A new system—a new economy—that meets human needs, enhances the quality of life and allows us to live in balance with nature. The responsibility of the mayor is to protect and serve Detroit citizens and this is what this plan of action aims to do.
Vision: Detroit as a global leader operating as an efficient human-centered ecosystem.
Reinstill trust in city government Empower Detroit citizens Innovate the future
Strengthen local economy
-an efficient government with full transparency and accountability
-eradication of poverty at the root
-proactive participation in emerging industries and innovative proficiency in future technologies
-a strong local economy that grows small businesses
-a quality of life that encourages and supports the personal and communal pursuit of happiness
-active civic engagement by its residents
In order to manifest true revitalization, we must consider the histories and oppressions of the majority Black American population. The foundation of every institution–government, police, education, the museum– was built to silence, disallow, displace, and render powerless Black Americans. These institutions were never created for Black Americans to truly prosper. It’s time for a new plan and new systems that are healthy and prosperous for Black Americans, and as a result for all Detroiters. It is for this reason I propose a universal basic income. This will help alleviate poverty, increase financial stability and inspire innovation.
In order to get on a new path, Detroit must become a digital society. By using blockchain technology city government can dramatically increase transparency, efficiency, and accountability. A blockchain is a ledger of transactions that is secure and can never be manipulated. The use of blockchain technology can eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy. Contracts (between citizen and government; government and corporations) created using blockchain technology can reduce the time necessary to process administrative work, increase efficiency and accuracy of applications and documents, and allow for anyone to access the contract in real time. By securely creating an ID using blockchain technology it would allow for instant transactions such as in the case of procurement of licenses, ability to vote online, accessibility to medical records, parking payments, development of land contracts and more.
Blockchain technology is also the foundation of cryptocurrency, a digital currency. The local economy can further be strengthened by creating Detroit’s own local cryptocurrency called the D-coin.
In 15 years 38% of jobs will be lost to automation and it will only increase. To mitigate this loss Detroit must:
$2000 a month, age 18 and older.
Detroit citizens must obtain a high level of competency of digital technologies in order to not only participate in a digital society but also innovate.
Thousands are living without water in Detroit because of unpaid water bills. The sewage fee has become prohibitive and as a result citizens are unable to pay their water bills, one of the highest in the nation. Water shut-offs are causing a public health risk. A moratorium on the shut-offs is absolutely necessary. As well as:
It has been predicted, because of Detroit’s proximity to fresh water and fertile farm land we will see a growth in population because of climate changes. In order to prepare Detroit needs:
Further incarceration only exacerbates the poverty cycle. By training police officers and instituting restorative justice practices, Detroit can reduce the incarceration rates and thereby increase the talent pool.
Create a municipal credit union that can process money from the cannabis industry as well as the D-coin.
Detroit has one of the highest property tax foreclosure rates since the Great Depression. More than 100,000 homes between 2011 and 2015 have been foreclosed upon and approximately 85% of those homes were improperly assessed at more than 50 percent of their market value. The improper assessment has resulted in many of Detroit citizens losing their homes. To rectify this crime and to ensure it doesn’t happen again, Detroit can:
To ensure constant access to city government and increase trust in government, a dashboard can be created using blockchain technology that holds all the information in relation to government.
In order to stimulate growth in the creative sector, a cultural affairs department is necessary.
The diversity of Detroit is what makes it a global city on the rise. In order to maintain this global ecosystem, Detroit must be a sanctuary city where immigrants are protected by city policies and law.
Cannabis is a fast growing industry. It is predicted by 2021 the industry will reach 50 billion dollars. Detroit must be strategic with this lucrative industry as it grows within the city. Detroit must advocate for the full legalization of cannabis and hemp.
The path Detroit is currently on is leading citizens deeper into poverty, and further disempowering our citizens. A shift in direction can create a new trajectory, a new narrative where every Detroit citizen is empowered and on a path to prosperity.
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