Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Share The Wealth: Utopia Or Opportunity? Anthropocracy - An Interview With Nicolò Bellia

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Imagine.... a world where things are very different from what you see now. Imagine a world where you could do what you really liked, choosing on the basis of what you are passionate and inspired by and not by what is available or pays more.

Nicolò Bellia and Robin Good - Photo credit: Robin Good

Imagine a world where you and I unimpeded by choices dictated only by the need to survive, can truly dedicate our complete energies to the greatest interest(s) we have.

Yes, it sounds impossible, but notwithstanding your resistance, I am here today to share a little story on this, with the goal of making you think a little more out of the box in which you have been caged.

I know someone, in fact, who has spent all of his life, to research and study that seems-so-impossible idea above and has indeed come up with some interesting views.

His name is Nicolò Bellia, and he is an Italian scientist, scholar and "philosopher" who besides having invented and discovered quite a few interesting things, has also published three books describing the vision for work as a mean to self-realization (vs. our standard present view of work as a mean to survival.)

A few weeks ago I went to his home, near Tarquinia, among some quiet and beautiful hills, and I spent some good time with him finding out exactly what his vision for "anthropocracy" was, and how, technically, we could snap out of the present work-loop that limits so much our potential to think and to evolve.

In this first, introductory article about anthropocracy, are some of my initial interview questions to Nicolò Bellia's and his insightful replies (video in Italian with full text transcript in English):

What is Anthropocracy?

Nicolo Bellia: In 1979 I was a consultant, and I was very disappointed with life... I wasn't satisfied with the social reality surrounding me because what I could see did not correspond to my moral ideals. At that point, I tried to understand whether this dissatisfaction was generated by my personal inability to see the positive aspects of social life or by an external cause.

I wrote a book called "La via d'uscita", (The way out): it was primarily a conversation with myself, from which I realized that the present social system is affected by many problems that - if not solved - are likely to lead to its destruction.

Among the errors that represent the foundations of this society there is the income tax: collecting income taxes means creating a mechanism that makes prices grow. For instance, if the government collects the income tax from a company like FIAT, the consequence is that FIAT will raise the price of its products.

However, prices are not important to rich people - because if bread costs X instead of Y, that doesn't make any difference to the rich person - but they are very important to poor people.

I reached the conclusion that in Italy and all over the world taxes are paid only by poor people. What does this mean? It means that poverty will keep on growing, despite the technological progress, and while this situation will not benefit the rich it will certainly damage the poor.

I proposed to institute the so called "money tax" whose aim is to collect money from the source of money itself instead of collecting it through the income tax. As a result, whoever that doesn't have the money will not pay anything and who has the money will pay according to what she has.

At that point though, I had to confront myself with the problem of the so called "dated money", because it was all about collecting a percentage of money from the monetary mass - which then amounted to 10 millions of billions of lire.

At the core of my theory lays this idea: if a person is handicapped or doesn't want to work; if a person has other vocations, why should she work whereas there are machines that can work for us? A machine can produce a thousand times more than what a man produces. It is no mystery that modern economy is based on the progressive introduction of machines in the production process.

Once machines were systematically introduced, the prices would decrease and men would not need to work anymore. Theoretically, at the end there should remain one machine that produces and creates things, while all men should be jobless. Obviously, if no money is given to these people they would die, since they would get no more pay.

This is why I proposed to institute the "citizen income", whose aim is to free the right to life from economy. At those times I called it "social compensation", and in my theory the money for this compensation wasn't collected through the income tax but through the money tax.

Anthropocracy - which is the name of my theory - promotes the right to life of any individual obtained through the monthly dispersion of an amount of money collected from the monetary mass. Back then, I remember I was not familiar with the concept of "seigniorage", but with my theory I had implicitly solved also the problem of seigniorage, because once the money tax had been imposed, there would be no need anymore to borrow money from banks, including the (Italian) Central Bank.
By steadily applying money decurtation (at those times I proposed 8% per year) the seigniorage created throughout history would be reabsorbed, and so would the public debt.

In the same book ("La via d'uscita") I stated that since the abolition of income tax would lower prices, money would immediately double its value. At that point, one could take the 50% of the entire monetary mass to extinguish the public debt. The money that is left would have the same power of acquisition it previously had and the citizen income could be extended to everybody.

Media, seigniorage, banks

NB: Whatever idea, in order to become public, needs the support of the media. If tomorrow the popular Italian show Porta a Porta would diffuse the idea of seigniorage as a swindle by the (Italian) Central Bank, the next day all Italians would believe that. But since Porta a Porta and the media in general are controlled by banks, this system of supervision assures this won't happen.

I would now like to take a look at the positive aspect of seigniorage: despite its immorality, seigniorage had a great influence on the economical development of modern society - of course damaging the weaker social groups.

Today we have computers, we are able to land on the Moon, and we can see satellite maps that magnify images up to the point that we can almost see objects in their real dimension. There are energy sources that we don't utilize to the fullest, like eolic and solar energy. We have such a great potential for energy, culture, science... and we must admit that we obtained it also through seigniorage.

But now it's time to put an end to this, also for the sake of bank owners.

In order to do so, we don't have to threaten banks by telling them that we will destroy them and take back the money they have been stealing up to now. We can rather tell them: whatever has passed has passed, keep what you have... but from now on things are going to change.

And when I talk about money tax I don't mean that I would want to steal anything from banks: I would simply quit borrowing money from banks and I would start applying a monthly 1% decurtation, just to say a number. At that point, if banks know how to work, they will earn certainly more than 12% per year; those banks that don't know how to work will be absorbed in this process.

What I imagine is some kind of "social jubilee". Up to now, we have been fooled and banks supported people such as Adolf Hitler... Overall, it is well known that banks are used to economically sustain opposite parties and that is why they always win, doesn't matter what happens.

The Money Tax

NB: The aim of "money tax" is to collect the money destined to pay the citizen income and the state costs. This money is not collected from companies and citizens income, but from the monetary mass that is available to the society. In Italian lire, it would amount to 12 millions of billions of lire.

The distribution of money

NB: Since we are used to being controlled by external powers, it is almost inconceivable for us to imagine that the individual might actually be able to distribute a certain amount of money to himself according to a monthly plan. But since the individual is the center of the antropocratic system, the government becomes the servant of the individual - and not the contrary - and the individual doesn't need to rely on government for money distribution.

In the future the distribution of money will be possible through electronic machines that will simplify the process by automatically delivering money to each citizen on a monthly basis.

The dogma of work

NB: If a person was born disabled and incapable of working, no one takes her in consideration because she is not productive. If a person becomes unable to work after an accident who will take care of her? The family, of course. But can a family face such a problem? The most likely consequence is that also the family will become handicapped, because of the existence of the so-called "dogma of work". The president of the Italian Republic himself, Giorgio Napolitano, keeps on saying that the government must "create new job opportunities".

But if surplus exists, if the world production is twice more the world capability to consume, then the real goal is not to create new job opportunities but to make it possible for people to consume what is overproduced. By doing so, people satisfy themselves and the companies because, on the other hand, the reduction of consumption would provoke the downfall of both companies and individuals.

The real goal is to allow men to work not because it is necessary, but because it is a vocation. They have to substitute the need to work with the love for work.

Individual initiatives

NB: With the institution of the citizen income, the power of the individual will multiply. Whoever has a moral, cultural or spiritual desire will do anything to pursue her goals and her voice will be as powerful as thunder. Nowadays, that voice is simply a lament, because the main concerns of the individual are related to surviving and paying taxes.

How can the individual pursue any other goal if the first thing she has to think about is her own survival?

Will your dream come true?

NB: Absolutely. I think it is the natural order of things. I did nothing but foreseeing something that will happen in the future.

To find more information about Nicolo Bellia and his vision please see:

This is the first part of a short series on Anthropocracy, the money tax and the possibility to live and work in a more human way. In the next part I will look more into the theory and solutions that Anthropocracy serves us.

Robin Good - Nicolò Bellia - [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2007-03-25 05:53:05

Heike Philp

Hi Robin,

The German pendant to Nicolo Bellia is Götz Werner.

Götz Werner is entrepreneur, billionair and owner of the chain 'Drogerie Markt - dm', which sells household consumer goods such as cosmetics, cleaning agents etc.

He has actively been promoting the basic salary for people in many talk shows, political initiatives, as sponsor of events such as the LearnTec etc. He spends a large part of his fortune on promoting this idea, which he believes to be the solution to not only employees (who pay most of the tax) but also to employers who face a heavy tax and social security burden when they employ people.

Very similar to Bellia's thoughts, that by introducing a base pay for people, they may be able to spend their time on NOT having to worry about simply 'surviving' but can use their creativity to benefit society.

Interestingly, he also has to refute many a times those arguments stating, that people would not want to work anymore if they were to receive a basic salary.

Sadly, not a lot of English documentation about Götz's fabulous work is available.

posted by on Saturday, March 24 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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