willj.dev / millennial-utopia / Utopian Capital, LLC

The Corporation to End Capitalism

Disclaimer: this document needs a lawyer because I’m not sure exactly which financial services we are allowed to conduct directly. Plenty of “benefit societies” provide their own insurance services (e.g. Thrivent), but since we want to be able to make rent payments and so forth on our members’ behalf, I’m not exactly sure whether or not special banking/finance regulations apply and would prevent us from doing this with any 501c exemptions.


The mission of Utopian Capital is to support the development of a just society by managing the capital assets of the Millennial Utopian society (MU), and any of its individual members, with their permission and on their behalf. This will support the continuing provision of equal rights under the Millennial Social Code (MSC) to the largest possible population.

Business Modellink

MU will attract and retain new members by building a solid foundation of public trust. This is accomplished by:

  • maintaining complete transparency in our governance and financial activity;
  • maintaining a reputation for being faithful to our mission;
  • providing each member an equal share in the company; and
  • offering members access to employment opportunities in company governance and other activities in support of our mission.

Revenue to fund the operations of MU, including wages paid to employees or its subsidiaries, will come from:

  • interest on responsibly managed capital investments;
  • annually renegotiable member fees; and
  • donations from members who are willing and able to pay more than we spend on their behalf.

Half of any net profit will be set aside for grants that support science and the arts for public benefit. The other half will be divided equally among all members.

Ownership Structurelink

UC is wholly owned and operated by the MU.

Corporate Structurelink

The activities of UC are defined, implemented, and adjudicated according to the constitution and laws of the Millennial Utopian Government (MUG), which is the governing body of the MUS.

The CEO of UC is the Director of Capital Relations (DCR) of the MUG, who is required to be a lawful member of the MUG Executive Council’s Board of Directors (ECBD). The ECBD will also appoint two other executive officers of UC:

  • Chief Financial Officer - reporting to the Director of Capital Relations
  • Chief Legal Officer - reporting to the Director of National Relations (who must also be a member of the ECBD).

These three officers form the Utopian Capital Executive Council, and are responsible for organizing and operating UC in support of its mission.

Q’s and A’slink

Wait, end capitalism??link

Yep, you read that right! It is our belief that a just society which guarantees universal equal rights and access to basic goods and services is not only possible, but even surprisingly easy to achieve, if we can earn and maintain a solid foundation of public trust.

For many this idea conjures unpleasant visions of angry masses wielding pitchforks and seizing the means of production (whatever that means). In fact this sort of recklessly violent revolution stopped being possible the moment we split the atom. There is simply no utopia that is worth risking a conflict that could threaten humanity’s very survival.

So how do we go about instituting radical, systemic change? By convincing people it’s possible, and then convincing them to vote for it! Utopian Capital is both a public demonstration that a post-capitalism society is possible, and a template on which to model legal reforms within an existing government.

Doesn’t owning a share of a corporation make you a capitalist?link

Right you are! Unfortunately, for the reasons mentioned above, it is not possible to institute reform by forming an independent government and declaring our own legitimacy. This would result in, at best, a padded cell. We must play by the rules, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be a bit tricky.

MU wants to demonstrate to the entire world that a post-capitalism society can guarantee universal equal rights and be governed with complete transparency while still maintaining an open market for nonessential goods and services. The way to do that is by building a prototype with capitalist training wheels, then building a bigger and more comprehensive model once we have enough capital. (Irony, right?)

If we can keep the demonstration going strong as more and more people join in, eventually enough people will be living a better life in our demo utopia that they’ll vote to get it installed for real!

Okay, whatever. So what do you actually do?link

We provide access to services and funding to all our members so that, to the best of our ability, we can universally and equally satisfy any of their rights under the Millennial Social Code that are not being fulfilled by the local government. This includes:

  • Safe, private housing
  • Basic groceries and utilities
  • Legal representation
  • Secure data storage
  • Employment opportunities in support of our mission and in MU governance
  • Eligibility to run for an elected position in MU governance
  • Grants to reimburse out of pocket health care costs

Some of these services may be limited until we have a large enough member base to guarantee them equally to all members; however, we will never under any circumstance extend a service to any member which is not available to all members, simultaneously and to the same extent.

I doubt it.link

That’s fine! But it’s also not a question. Anyway, no one’s making you join. Keep reading to see for yourself how it works, and check out the documentation to get more details about our long term vision!

How does membership work?link

Our mission demands that we guarantee universal equal rights, so we cannot only offer membership to people who can already afford the basic services we provide. If we wanted to limit membership to people who don’t really need it, we’d have just started a country club.

As a result, we need to make sure that we only offer membership when we are certain we can guarantee equal access to our services, regardless of how much any new member is able or willing to pay. We do this by carefully planning our finances, in much the same way that a capitalist insurance company uses actuarial data to set premiums. Our job is slightly harder, because we need to allow much wider variation in member fees, but it works on similar financial principles. Whenever we are able to offer new membership, we will clearly indicate how many spots are available, and how long the application window is open for. Once the window closes, we will randomly select which applicants we offer membership to, with equal weight given to all applicants regardless of their personal circumstances.

Selected applicants will be invited to interview with a Membership Counselor, and we will endeavor to accommodate any reasonable requests for assistance in completing this interview. The purpose is just to get an idea of the applicant’s situation and answer any of their questions or concerns. With their permission, we may conduct a background check to verify that they aren’t misrepresenting anything about their situation, but we’ll never deny an application based solely on personal circumstances. The only expectation is that the applicant is honest about their situation and how much they are able (and willing) to pay in member fees so that we can plan our own finances accordingly.

How is access to basic goods and services provided?link

In order of preference:

  1. Directly employing enough people who are involved in producing those goods or providing those services, in sufficient numbers to guarantee free and equal access to all members
  2. Directly paying non-members, on a member’s behalf, for basic goods and services we cannot provide ourselves
  3. Immediate reimbursement of any costs for basic goods or services that members must pay out of pocket
  4. Keeping enough cash set aside to give to members if they cannot reasonably and practically acquire basic goods or services in any other way (See also: Cash Handouts as a Last Resort)

What if I already have my own access to housing, health insurance, or any other MU service?link

That’s great! Our basic living standards are rather high compared to those that prevail under capitalism, so congratulations on being successful (or lucky)!

Entirely at your option, you may give us the responsibility for managing the payment of your rent, provision and payment of utilities, or any other service that we provide, in exchange for higher member fees that we negotiate together. In most cases, this should not directly affect your finances. For instance, we may agree that you pay us exactly the same amount of rent that you normally pay, and in return we just take care of getting it to your landlord.

The reason this works is because we use our member fees to make responsible investments which have a stable rate of return. By taking responsibility for managing members’ usual expenses, we make more cash available for those investments. The profits from those investments provide additional support for our services and allow us to increase the number of members we can support.

Of course, many people are not able to afford even their current expenses, through no fault of their own, because of random chance (like where they were born) or because they are one of the many victims of an abusive and exploitative capitalist system. Our financial strategy is designed to at least guarantee that our current members will have equal access to our services regardless of their personal circumstances. Unfortunately, even an uncommonly successful investment strategy will probably take generations until it grows to the point that we can responsibly support our services for everyone who wants them. Thus, when we are negotiating member fees with a prospective member, we will invite them (entirely at their option) to pay fees in excess of what they might reasonably expect us to pay on their behalf. This will never have any bearing on access to services, but it is profoundly appreciated because it proves that more privileged members are nonetheless willing to volunteer more of their own money in support of equal rights for every person. They may receive, at most, a financially negligible token of our thanks for their commitment to our mission.

What if no one wants to pay excess member fees?link

This would be disappointing, because it constrains the rate at which we can expand our services to a larger population. It is also unlikely, because it is our belief that most people will be willing to contribute at least a tiny bit more than they actually need. In fact, even in capitalism this isn’t unprecedented, because otherwise insurance companies wouldn’t work!

In any event, one of the key principles of our expansion plan is to only start a new round of applications when we can be reasonably sure that any new members could be supported with the resources we already have. This is, incidentally, exactly the difference between an insurance company and a Ponzi scheme. Without this protection, we would immediately be trapped in a death spiral of desperate recruitment, unmanageable growth, and a complete loss of trust in our ability to succeed in our mission.

The key observation is that people only ever willingly give away money under three conditions:

  • they can afford to;
  • they don’t feel like they’re being coerced; and
  • they trust that the money they donate will be used in the way they expect.

This is just a fundamental truth about human nature. Rather than trying to fight human nature (this never turns out well for anyone), we can only plan for it. We can’t control whether or not a given person can afford to donate, but we can make sure they never feel coerced, and maintain complete transparency in our governance and use of funds so that prospective members can trust that we will put any excess member fees they care to provide to good use.

What if a bad person tries to rip us off?link

This is indeed inevitable, because no matter how well intentioned a system is, a sufficiently dedicated evildoer will always be able to find a way to manipulate it to their advantage. We cannot be unreasonably invasive or strict with membership requirements, because that compromises our promise to uphold universal equal rights. The correct way to handle this difficult reality comes in three parts.

Membership Interviewlink

This filters out many of the most obvious (and unimaginative) evildoers. Examples of reasons to deny membership include:

  • Trying to get membership twice. The background check should verify that the applicant is an actual person who isn’t already a member.
  • Grossly misrepresenting their ability to pay. We don’t need (or want) to subject anyone to a full audit, but we should at least be able to make sure that they’re not hiding that they own a bank.

The full list of reasons we may deny a membership application will always be publicly available, and we will never deny an application for any reason which was not published at the time that application was submitted. We will also always inform a denied applicant exactly why it happened and what they could do to avoid being denied the next time they apply. No one will ever be permanently barred from membership.

Public Data Monitoringlink

One of the rights we strive to guarantee universally, equally, and unconditionally is the right to privacy of personal data. We actively avoid maintaining a centralized store of data which directly ties personally identifiable information to benefit usage. Not only would this be unsafe in the event of a breach, but it’s not even worth any supposed advantage in tracking down abuse. This is because any abuse that is not extreme enough to affect our ability to guarantee equal access to our services is, by definition, not worth noticing. It usually isn’t even possible in that case to unambiguously differentiate harmful or negligent abuse from accidents or glitches! Many governments and corporations fail to accept this basic fact of life in a large society, and nevertheless embark on expensive and harmful programs of mass surveillance whose benefits are vastly outweighed by the potential for abuse and corruption.

We can, however, keep track of aggregated benefit usage information (like how much money we paid for rent in a given week) which cannot be linked to individual persons. We also know how much, on average, we expect to spend to support our members. If we see that there is an ongoing pattern of higher than expected spending, this means that we either need to fix a problem in how we compute expected spending, or someone is abusing our services. Further investigation of the publicly available data should allow us to narrow down the possible source(s) of the money leak.

If we think it’s possible that a member is defrauding us, we will gather the evidence we found and ask them if they can explain the discrepancy. If they are able to demonstrate that they weren’t acting out of harmful intent or negligence, we’ll just have to adjust our own expectations to accommodate the glitch. If we nevertheless strongly suspect that the member is being dishonest, we will report our suspicions to the local authorities so that they can complete a more thorough investigation with a legal search warrant and due process.

If we are forced to take this path, we will only seek reasonable recovery of financial losses resulting directly from fraudulent activity. MULLC will never, directly or indirectly, attempt to pursue a prison sentence against any person for any reason whatsoever. Furthermore, conviction of intentional or negligent financial abuse of MULLC as a whole is the only circumstance in which we will revoke a person’s membership.

Cash Handouts as a Last Resortlink

Whenever possible, we strive to directly employ enough people to provide basic goods and services equally to all members; directly pay on a member’s behalf for basic goods and services provided by non-members; or immediately reimburse any out-of-pocket costs for basic goods and services that present an undue financial burden. This allows us to make sure that our funds are actually used for the purpose we expect.

This is not quite enough, though; if we do not provide a certain service, and there is no practical way to directly pay on a member’s behalf, we should not expect all members to have enough cash on hand to pay for that service out-of-pocket before we reimburse them. In such a case, there is no option except to simply give out cash, and we must accept the inevitable fact that some of this cash will be used for goods or services we didn’t intend. (See also: Benefit Abuse.)

One important thing we do not do is use coercive tactics (like hounding members for receipts or, god forbid, employing debt collectors) to ensure repayment of any cash we don’t believe was used in good faith. One of the first things we must accept is that it is simply not possible in a large enough society to make sure that every single dollar goes exactly to the place we want it to. This was discussed in more detail above, as it applies to public data monitoring for investigation of egregious fraudulent use of MULLC funds.

We use a few strategies to minimize the risk for abuse, even though we know that this risk cannot be completely eliminated:

  • Working with a member to mutually agree on a minimum reasonable handout that will allow them to obtain necessary goods/services, so that reimbursement can be used as much as possible
  • Making it easy, but never required, for members to provide receipts when they use cash handouts
  • Maintaining awareness of the goods and services that most frequently require handouts so that we can move to a more preferable payment strategy

How does employment work?link

Employment with MU is available to all members, but is never a requirement of membership. MU will maintain a public listing of job opportunities, where each posting indicates:

  • minimum skill requirements;
  • preferred skills;
  • base wages offered for a range of acceptable levels of skill and experience; and
  • scheduling, location, or other fair and reasonable practical requirements, if applicable.

After an interview to reasonably confirm that the position matches a candidate’s stated skills and expectations, that candidate is assigned placement priority:

  • Meets all minimum and preferred skills and applicable practical requirements
  • Meets some preferred skills, and all minimum skills and practical requirements
  • Meets minimum skills and practical requirements
  • Has some missing required skills, unavoidable practical constraints, or a recent history of employee negligence (such as failing to show up to a shift without reasonable warning)

Candidates will always be given feedback on priority placement and the number of other candidates at each priority level at the time an offer is made. Candidates will also have the opportunity to appeal their priority placement if they can reasonably prove that there was an error on our part or special circumstances that cannot be accommodated by this system. If there are multiple candidates who share the highest priority level, the position will be offered by lottery, with equal weight given to all candidates with the highest priority.

Priority appeals are always treated with respect and fairness, because we realize that this simple “bucket” system is not, on its own, a suitable way to rank candidates. In fact, it is rarely possible to objectively compare skill levels at all! Initial placement priority is meant to merely provide a starting point for consideration and feedback, and should always be open to reasonable adjustment on a case by case basis if a candidate can demonstrate that they deserve to be considered equally alongside all other candidates who were given a different priority.

Jobs fall into three categories, depending on schedule structure and how wages are paid:

  • Free shifts, where an employee has no set schedule, but shares a schedule of shifts with all other employees in the same position, and may sign up for any empty shifts they are willing and able to work at any point before that shift ends. Priority for shifts is given to employees with the least amount of hours worked so far in a given week to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to work.
  • Set shifts, where an employee is expected to work a prearranged schedule, and is paid at an hourly rate based on the amount of time they work. Shift positions can always temporarily be covered with short notice by another candidate whenever an employee is sick or has an unavoidable conflict.
  • Salaried work, where an employee is paid a consistent weekly stipend. This happens when employee activities don’t need to occur on a set schedule, or the applicant has a sufficiently high level of skill and experience that they cannot be substituted on short notice.

After each year of consistent employment, wages are automatically increased by a set amount to reflect the employee’s additional experience. MU will always make the current base value of yearly raises, and how this value is calculated, publicly available. This base increase can be modified in individual cases under certain circumstances. For instance:

  • Jobs with a significantly higher than average risk of personal injury or other adverse conditions will tend to receive significantly increased raises compared to other jobs
  • Jobs which are critical to MU’s mission to secure universal equal rights and basic services for all persons will tend to receive slightly increased raises compared to other jobs
  • If an employee engages in a provable, long-term pattern of negligence or misconduct, their raise may be limited or withheld (but may never in any circumstance have their actual wages decreased)

MU will always make details about the exact circumstances in which a raise can be modified publicly available, and will never modify a raise arbitrarily or for any reason that was not published at the time the job was originally posted. Employees may also appeal their assigned raise if they have reason to believe it was miscalculated, or if they can demonstrate that their pay deserves a special adjustment. These adjustments can be due to a mistake on our part (such unanticipated changes to employee responsibilities) or other circumstances outside anyone’s control (such as a global pandemic which makes it more difficult to accomplish their work).

Do you provide debt repayment or relief, or access to credit?link

The short answer is: no. At least, not directly. This doesn’t mean we underrate consumer debt as a social problem; it is just not feasible for us to attack this problem with a systematic repayment strategy for our members. This would be like using a garden hose to fight a flamethrower. The good news is that we can provide people indirect debt relief just by providing the kinds of services listed above.

People go into debt for all kinds of reasons, which all basically boil down to: they really want (or even need!) to pay for something, but they also need to pay rent, and they can’t do both. It is at this point that a banker swoops in, all smiles and marketing brochures, with the promise of enough credit to provide the wiggle room to buy the stuff they want and pay rent, just so long as they pay the bank back eventually, and maybe with a little extra for their trouble.

By making sure that all of its members have equal access to basic goods and services like housing, groceries, health care, and employment, MU can prevent its members from losing a place to sleep in order to pay off their existing debt. Credit can still be a useful tool for buying extremely expensive nonessential goods or services, but we do not believe that it should ever be necessary to ensure humane living conditions. With these fundamental requirements out of the way, members can put their personal income to work paying off their existing debt.

What exactly does “equal access to housing” mean?link

Excellent question! Hopefully it goes without saying that we are not trying to create a world where everyone lives in an identical box with an identical bed and an identical dog. We also don’t really think that humans are quite cut out for universal communal living (unless they really want to). Besides, this would fail to provide adequate privacy which we believe is a fundamental right. So what do we mean?

  • figure out median housing costs in a given area
  • figure out approximate desirability levels
  • come up with a conversion between desirability and local housing cost
  • look at available places with member which matches their situation
  • cover housing up to the equivalent “base rent” for a functional-but-minimal residence