Virtu.us: Investing in Education and Human Capital in an Age of Government Decline
The decline of government services, and particularly public-goods investment, has been occurring worldwide for more than four decades. It’s not a passing phenomenon. We will need a new social mechanism, beyond government as it previously has been understood, to provide for needed public goods of all kinds – but especially investments in human capital and social welfare – and to avoid this vicious circle of disinvestment and disfranchisement.
Virtu.us is a whole new “operating system” to modernize the age-old technology called “government.” The same digital technologies undermining geography, and with it governments – such as the internet, platform business models, and blockchain – also allow us to create new alternatives to compulsory government programs. Using modern digital technology that’s revolutionizing money, finance, and value-exchange, people can choose to take collective action, invest in public goods, realize and share the benefits – but only amongst those who affirmatively choose to contribute – creating a virtuous circle.
The easiest way to illustrate how Virtu.us works, one that most people recognize immediately, is to look at financing for higher education: College is expensive – more expensive than many families can afford. Virtu.us re-conceptualizes college (and all human capital) investing: A college education produces an average increase in income of $1 million over the course of the student’s working life. If the cost of college were paid back as a percentage of income over a long period – e.g., a 30-year working life, like the average home mortgage – it would yield several major advantages: lower average monthly payments; a market-rate return for a private lender financing a public good; and converting debt into equity, spending into social investment, and separate self-interests into a shared interest in a student’s long-term success.
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